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.

Meatspace: living in the social media age

by George Terry in News Google+

MeatspaceOnWood

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.

nikeshShuklaMeatspaceWAS

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.’

Measuring Facebook engagement

by Jamie Robinson in News Google+

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).

888d592171a458830f0f201f39b2fcd4

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.

Business outcomes
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
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.

Social, Digital and Mobile in India 2014

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of reports into the Social, Digital and Mobile landscapes of countries around the world, today we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for India.

You may find it useful to put these numbers into context by comparing them to those for other Asian countries in our APAC report, where you’ll also be able to compare today’s stats to India’s January 2014 data.

Executive Overview

Slide04

India’s digital landscape is evolving fast, but overall penetration remains low in the world’s second most populous country, with fewer than 1 in 5 Indians using the Internet in July 2014.

Internet use appears to be accelerating though, with the latest figures indicating 30 million new users since January alone – an increase of 14% in just 6 months.

Social media use is also growing, with Facebook alone adding 16 million new users since January – that’s roughly one new user every second.

The picture for mobile is a little more complex though, with the latest data suggesting a drop in the total number of active subscriptions.

However, this is likely due to SIM consolidation; the average Indian mobile user currently manages 2.5 active connections (SIMs), but as people increasingly switch to smartphones with data plans that enable more cost-effective communication between different mobile networks, it’s likely that people will ‘drop’ some of these secondary (and tertiary) subscriptions.

Mobile Internet

Slide05

The top story in this report is the dominance of mobile connectivity in India.

70% of internet page views in India originate from mobile devices, while 87% of all Facebook users access the platform through mobile:

Slide06

Crucially, it’s this mobile connectivity that’s driving India’s digital growth, and the majority of new internet users access exclusively through mobile.

However, connection speeds remain disappointingly slow in India, with Akamai stating that the country has the slowest internet in Asia. Average connection speeds in India are a paltry 1.7Mbps. Broadband connections (i.e. connections of 4 Mbps or higher) are still relatively scarce, and account for less than 5% of all internet connections. Connections of 10Mbps or more are limited to just 0.7% of all users.

Despite these slow speeds, however, Internet users in India spend almost 5 hours on the net every day, with 40% of that time spent on social media:

Slide07

Social Media
Despite being Facebook’s second largest market worldwide, social media penetration in India remains at just 8%.

As with overall internet use, mobile drives social media usage, with almost 9 in 10 Facebook users accessing the platform via mobile:

Slide08

It’s worth noting that 30 million people in India access Facebook through a feature phone (i.e. non-’smartphone’ devices).

66 million people access Facebook via smartphones, with 60 million of these – 91% – accessing via Android handsets. 4.6 million access via iOS (i.e. Apple devices), while Windows OS accounts for 3.6 million users:

Slide10

These numbers suggest that at least 1.5 million Indian user accounts access Facebook via multiple mobile operating systems, indicating that multiple SIM usage occurs even amongst smartphone owners. Meanwhile, around 4 million users access Facebook across both feature phones and smartphone devices.

Samsung claims the lion’s share of Facebook mobile users, with 32 million users accessing the platform via one of the Korean manufacturer’s devices. Nearly 18 million Indian users access Facebook via Nokia devices.

Critically, our research suggests that much of this mobile social activity takes place in browsers rather than via native apps – an important point to note for marketers when planning their social content strategies.

Google+ appears to be India’s second most popular social platform, with 35% of internet users claiming to have signed in at least once in the past 30 days.

Twitter and LinkedIn follow, while Orkut still appears in India’s top 5 platforms (this will change by September, however, when Google shutters its original social network):

Slide09

Mobile
There are just short of 350 million unique mobile users in India, with each user maintaining an average of 2.54 active connections:

Slide10

Smartphones are driving the new handset market, although feature phones still dominate everyday usage.

Moreover, almost all mobile contracts in India are ‘pay-as-you-go’ (i.e. pre-paid), and fewer than 10% of users have access to 3G networks:

Slide11

Despite this, 95% of smartphone users are searching for local information via their portable devices, and 54% claim to have made a purchase via mobile:

Slide12

Entertainment and social media lead activities on smartphones, with video particularly popular. However, it’s worth noting that most video viewing on mobile devices in India is driven by memory card transfer, rather than via internet streaming:

Slide13

You can read the full report on SlideShare, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our Social, Digital and Mobile reports.

tagged: , , , , , ,

What it’s REALLY like at We Are Social

by Marie Cravens in News

My name’s Marie, aka Melba Toast, and I’m one of the newest members of the We Are Social team in New York. If you’re reading this, we probably have a lot in common — mostly an endlessly entertained obsession for all things to do with social media.

We Are Social is currently seeking bright and brilliant additions to our rapidly growing team in New York, across all levels but particularly within client servicing – Account Directors, Senior Account Managers and Account Managers. Whether you have an established background in digital marketing or you’re contemplating how to turn that spare time judging your Instagram feed into an exciting career, We Are Social might just be the perfect fit for you.

You don’t need me to go on about We Are Social’s incredible roster of global brands, and our network of eight offices around the world — our work speaks for itself. But what’s it really like to be a part of We Are Social in New York? I’m going to tell you what goes on behind the scenes instead. Here are the five things I’ve learned since joining the party.

1. Don’t be faint of heart

In an office filled with people from Australia, the UK, and all parts of the U.S., we all seem to have one thing in common — a love for language that is, shall we say, colorful. You can’t be easily offended in an office where “FUCKKK!” is commonly screamed across the room, and someone is awarded regularly for the best out-of-context, or just-plain-weird, comment. Trust me, you’ll love it … or get used to it pretty fast.

2. ALWAYS be prepared with a good reaction GIF

If you don’t already have a folder started on your desktop with your favorite GIFs, you’re slippin’. I’m personally partial to ones containing my girl Rihanna, but the company-wide group Skype chat has opened my eyes to new GIFs I had never dreamed of … as well as some that are now unfortunately burned into my psyche for good and I’m pretty sure I can’t forget if I try. Sometimes, no words can say more than a Homer Simpson GIF can make you feel.

3. If you need help, ask for it 

Another  thing I’ve learned since starting at We Are Social that I feel is so important is that no matter how busy everyone is, someone will find the time to stop and help you if you have a question. For me as an Account Executive, for example,  it’s all about constantly improving on my time management skills. It’s always better to ask for help before you get in over your head and make a mistake. We have regular check-ins, one-on-ones, and, in general, an overall comfort level where everyone is able to stop and talk things through at any moment. That’s what gives We Are Social a real feeling of a team, where everyone helps each other — and in turn, our clients — succeed.

4. …but if you offer to help others, be prepared to put in work!

Part of that collaborative environment that makes We Are Social so great includes jumping in headfirst to help your team. This could mean anything from lending a fresh perspective to a brainstorm, to taking on an important new business pitch in addition to your workload. Before you offer to help, make sure you have the capacity — because you WILL be taken up on that offer!

And lastly, but most importantly….

5. WORK HARD, PLAY HARD

I feel like a lot of companies recite this cliche to try and sound cool, but the We Are Social New York team is the true embodiment of the saying. We put all of ourselves into our work and put in the hours, but that effort ensures the celebratory shots go down even sweeter as we toast to a job well done. Everyone genuinely looks forward to 5 p.m. Friday — not because it signals the weekend, but for mandatory office happy hour hangs and then cruising together to a local bar (or three).

So there you have it! I think I have laughed harder and learned more in my three months with We Are Social than in any other job in my life. And I’ll drink to that!

What are you waiting for? Apply to join our team today by emailing and telling us who you are and why you think you’ll fit right in.

The emergence of a superstar in social

by Chris Nee in News

Colombia’s James Rodriguez has been the World Cup’s rising star. Far from unknown before the tournament – Rodriguez made a big-money move to AS Monaco a year ago and was already one of the hottest prospects in the game – his profile has nevertheless gone through the roof in the past month.

He’s made his mark on Twitter too. Rodriguez has garnered 3.3 million mentions on the platform since the beginning of the tournament, though he does remain a long way behind Neymar (18.9 million) and Lionel Messi (14.3 million), the pre-established stars of the competition.

However during the quarter-finals Rodriguez held his own with the biggest names, both on the pitch and on Twitter, where he was mentioned 1.1 million times. Mentions of Messi, who temporarily handed match-winning responsibility to Gonzalo Higuain against Belgium in the last eight and didn’t get on the scoresheet, were only marginally higher.

Twitter mentions are inherently tied to goals, of course, and Rodriguez scored one against Brazil as Colombia went out of the World Cup. More to the point, the replays of his goal and the aftermath revealed that his arm was home to an enormous green grasshopper at the time – perfect social fodder.

Neymar also didn’t score but he did hit the headlines thanks to a nasty injury sustained against Rodriguez’s Colombia. His tournament is under threat and his injury was high-profile; because Neymar has fulfilled his expectations so far and has been the face of the tournament, his mentions tallied 4.3 million on a bittersweet quarter-final weekend.

But the growth in Rodriguez’s talkability during the World Cup has been far more impressive and demonstrate just how quickly he’s emerged as a truly global football figure.  His quarter-final mentions represent a third of his total tournament mentions, a far larger proportion than Neymar and Messi.

More importantly, we’ve compared the number of mentions of Neymar, Messi and Rodriguez now to their mentions in their first matches.

The anticipation of Neymar and Messi’s opening performances was red hot. Neymar clocked in at 2.5 million opening match mentions compared to Messi’s 2.7 million, and both lived up to it in style.

Rodriguez on Colombia’s first matchday? 87,000 mentions.

In terms of total tournament mentions and matchday mentions the Colombian isn’t yet on the level of the established star players, but the increase from comfortably under 100,000 mentions against Greece to over a million against Brazil is extremely impressive.

Even better, he’s earning his social mentions on the pitch. He’s been mentioned over three million times during the World Cup because of brilliant performances, great skills and, in particular, that one incredible goal.