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22 May 2015 15:45
It is difficult to discuss digital strategy without mentioning the issue of social fragmentation, a challenge which all communication and marketing professionals are faced with. Nevertheless, the time of consolidation seems to be here.
The audience: the sinews of war
In order to ensure their sustainability, social networks must reach a critical size. One figure summarises it all: 1,44 billion, the number of active Facebook users. This figure is impressive… but still way below the real total. In fact, together, WhatsApp and Instagram have more than 900 million active users and are also brands owed by Mark Zuckerberg’s firm. Therefore, the scope of the Facebook brand is wider than it appears at first sight.
In this context it’s hard to exist as an outsider, especially given that the main social media leaders have significant financial windfall that allows them to buy out any social network in vogue and even poach the talent which designed these new networks, a strategy known as acqui-hire. A buyout implies the willingness of both parties: $3 billion dollars was not enough for Facebook to buy out the ephemeral social network SnapChat…but that didn’t matter! The social media conglomerate from Menlo Park was quick to develop its own app in response – Slingshot, allowing users to exchange ephemeral photos and videos.
In short, while the new players may have all it takes to sell us the new concepts of tomorrow, they often lack the audience. However, to bypass the problem, there is a solution: capitalise on an audiences that already exist. A concrete example? Periscope, a live-streaming app that graphs itself onto the audience of Twitter or Meerkat, its direct competitor, which now integrates with Facebook.
Towards a Digital Lab, new trends incubator?
We are evolving in a more and more app-centric world. It’s no surprise that the popular social media networks are mobile applications that do not offer an online version. Is this a sign of an ephemeral fad?
Everything indicates that the future of social media will be two-tiered. Shaped on one hand by a small group of social leaders, including Facebook and Twitter, and another group, the challengers, which will propose concepts for all tastes and interests.
The social leaders will dig into this incubator according to their desires, sometimes buying these networks, sometimes duplicating the service for their own network. They will further consolidate by becoming focal points in the media ecosystem and thus, bring more coherence into cross-media brand strategies.
From time to time, all the same, a new social network will succeed in integrating into the club of elites. But in a highly competitive world, being the first to launch a new concept will no longer suffice. It must offer an innovative service that is difficult to appropriate or duplicate. Foursquare has borne the brunt of this ruthless world…what social network hasn’t incorporated geolocation into its platform?..
23 April 2015 16:16
Online video is on the rise – it’s estimated that by 2017 video will account for 69% of all online traffic. Most importantly, original video content provides great returns – 71% of marketers who created video said that it outperformed other content in terms of conversion.
Video has never been easier to create – a quick online search will show hundreds of free apps that can turn your mobile device into your own editing studio. Once the creative work is done though, how can you be sure that your video gets seen?
Easy! I’ll just put it on YouTube….?
Putting your content on Youtube is undeniably a good option. For years YouTube has been synonymous with online video. Indeed, it is still a huge player in the industry – every month 1 billion unique users visit the site, watching 6 billion hours of video. In addition, 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute. However, YouTube is now facing some serious competition, namely from Facebook.
Facebook’s native video option has been expanding rapidly since its inception – last year Facebook reported 1 billion video views per day and in November 2014, for the first time, the number of brands natively posting video to Facebook surpassed the number of brands posting to YouTube. Facebook has also altered its algorithm to give preference to videos directly uploaded to their platform as opposed to links shared from YouTube.
Easy! I’ll just put it on Facebook instead….?
Given Facebook’s rapid success with video, it is a safe bet that your content will be seen if you upload it to Facebook. Not only does Facebook give native video priority, it also plays it automatically so you can be sure that at least a few seconds of your piece will be seen. Facebook lends itself to virality too, automatically bringing videos that might be of interest to the user to the surface in their news feed, where on YouTube, the user is more likely to have to deliberately search for something in order to find it.
Facebook video does have its drawbacks though. While the viewing statistics for native video on Facebook are impressive, the criteria are not the same as on Youtube. Facebook counts 3 seconds of autoplay as a view, whether or not the user actually chooses to turn on the sound or play the full video, whereas YouTube requires at least 30 seconds of the video (or the full duration if it is less than 30 seconds) to be played before it counts as a view. Also, given that Facebook is a closed network – a video’s reach is confined within the network. Facebook isn’t as easy to search as YouTube either, so users looking for specific content will have a more difficult time finding it on Facebook. It’s also worth keeping in mind that while Facebook boosts Facebook videos, Google boosts YouTube videos.
So which is better….?
Both! Don’t limit yourself to one platform, extend your reach and reap the benefits of both. Just remember to treat your video like any other piece of content, adapt it for your platform, re-purpose it, make it shareable and snackable!
Post long-form video to YouTube – YouTube users are used to watching longer content on the platform – and make sure to give it a name that is easily searchable for people looking for content on your industry. Use the embed code from YouTube to display your video on your website and blog, this way you can easily keep track of views.
Make a snackable version of your video and upload it to Facebook. Give it a striking opening and don’t forget to include text if necessary for clarity– remember Facebook videos are silent until a user turns on the sound so make sure your video has the hook to make your audience listen! You can also use your Facebook video as a teaser for longer content – include links at the end of your video to guide the viewer to the full version on your website or on YouTube.
With your distribution strategy complete – make sure your movie is up to scratch. At the end of the day, regardless of how well you publicise your content, unless it resonates with your audience it is essentially useless. Make it useful, informative, funny or emotive. Remember, if you really want your content to move, make sure it moves your audience.
08 April 2015 10:54
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to pain. Pain leads to suffering”. Star Wars fans and movie buffs alike will be familiar with this famous quote from Yoda and, admittedly, while it’s a little extreme to say that this concept is directly applicable to measurement of Dark Social, it isn’t too far wrong. A great deal of fear surrounds the area, but instead of this fear pushing communications experts to learn more about the dark side, it’s keeping them away. Unsure of how to measure Dark Social, many are just ignoring it completely and – whether they’re aware or not – their results are suffering because of it.
Shares, I am your father.
Dark Social; it sounds mysterious, sinister even, but if you’re looking for something complex or “cutting-edge”, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Dark Social is actually quite a dated act. In essence, it’s the Daddy of social media sharing, it’s what people did with information they found online before they had access to public sharing platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve ever copied and pasted a link and sent it to a friend, or group of friends, by email or private message, then you’ve contributed towards Dark Social activity.
You underestimate the power of the Dark Side
With billions of people using public social networks, you could be forgiven for thinking that measuring Dark Social won’t have much of an impact. You’re wrong. Think about the number of times you share links privately, as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Now imagine, as a brand, not monitoring any content that is shared this way….
Unlocking Dark Social information for your brand can be highly beneficial, not just in terms of brand awareness but also in terms of campaign targeting. Usually, when sharing of this kind happens it’s on a one-to-one or one-to-few basis. People are sharing information they don’t need to tell the world about but that is highly relevant to the person who’s receiving it. Understanding this would allow brands see what’s resonating with their audience more clearly and help with better audience segmentation and targeting.
As all Dark Social sharing happens in private, it’s difficult to ascertain the exact volumes, but RadiumOne states that 69% of all sharing activity, at a global level, takes place via Dark Social. Putting that in simple terms – if you ignore Dark Social, potentially, you’re reporting on less than a third of your social media shares! But with these private networks being beyond the reach of normal analytics tools, how can a brand monitor their mentions on Dark Social?
Use the source
While you will never be able to identify the source of all your visitors, examining your direct traffic links on Google Analytics will help you identify visitors that find you via Dark Social. Usually, when a visitor comes to a site directly, they’ll do so by typing a short URL into the address bar e.g. www.kmni.co.uk . If you see long URLs in your direct traffic listings, e.g. www.blog.kmni.co.uk/great-blog-post-about-social-media-that-you-should-read-now, it’s unlikely that the user typed this in manually. A more likely explanation is that they received the link after someone copied and pasted it into an email or private message. When the user clicks on this link, they’re generating website traffic from a dark origin.
Another way of tracking your content is to use customised and shortened URLs. Google’s URL Builder tool will allow you to create custom URLs for your content that include relevant information, making the traffic from these links easier to identify and your results easier to segment. Using a link-shortening service like ow.ly or bit.ly on your custom links (which can become a bit unwieldy!) will give you even more insights into your content and how it is being shared.
Finally, take control of sharing at the source. Make it easy for your audience to share content in a measurable way. Adding share buttons to your piece is an easy option that will give you insight into the number of times a piece has been shared. Try to focus on giving options that fall into the Dark Social category, like “Share by Email”, and particularly mobile-friendly options e.g. “Share on Whatsapp”. Sharing buttons mean users can pass on content with a single click – it’s a much easier process than copying, changing platforms, and then pasting. The added bonus for you is that it’s more measurable too!
Many advocate the disabling of the copy and paste function on your site, so visitors can only share using the share button. While this gives you more control over sharing statistics, ultimately it could come at a great cost. Due to the frustration of not having the option to copy and paste, your audience may abandon the sharing process altogether. While it is important to have as much knowledge as possible about who is sharing what kind of information about your brand and where they’re sharing it, it should never be at the cost of the content itself being shared!
Share Wars: A New Hope
Recently, a breakthrough was made by Alexis Madrigal, who originally coined the term Dark Social, and Chartbeat, a web traffic tracking app. They discovered that a large proportion of shares, previously categorised as Dark Social, had come from mobile apps like Facebook and Reddit. This breakthrough will have a huge impact, with between 10%-50% of traffic, previously categorised as Dark Social, now becoming traceable. Although there are still some unknown elements of Dark Social, we can hope that as research into the area continues, we will gain more and more understanding of how people share, what they share and why.
Dark Social isn’t as sinister as it sounds – it’s something we all do – many of us on a daily basis. While measuring your complete social impact can seem like an impossible task, exploring the area of Dark Social isn’t. Adding sharing buttons to your content, customising your links and exploring your direct traffic can all provide extra insight that was previously hidden in the dark. Combining your Dark Social statistics with your results from social media, press and broadcast for a panoramic view of your media presence will leave you as a force to be reckoned with! So go forth and analyse, and may the force be with you.
01 April 2015 14:18
Time and time again, we ask ourselves, is there a science to creating great content? The answer, well it’s elementary….
16 February 2015 11:16
Not so long ago, in a land not so far away, all events would start with a familiar phrase…“And before we begin, please switch off all mobile phones”. Speakers could judge their success and the resonance of their message through body language, eye contact and the number of hands raised at the end of the session. Times have changed. Now, we actively encourage attendees to use their phones at events and often (although not always!) the best speakers can be identified as those whose audiences are hunched over, tapping away on their mobile devices.
Being physically present at an event no longer provides the maximum opportunity to learn and to network. The most successful attendees are those who can multi-task – be present in the room while simultaneously making an impact online. However, there is a fine line between making positive impact and a negative one. It is vital to do your research, know the audience attending the event and adapt your social media style accordingly. Also it’s worth keeping in mind whether you’re representing yourself or your company, keep your tone and content within any guidelines which may have been set. If in doubt, check with your communications team and add a “personal opinions” disclaimer to any non-corporate accounts.
Originality is key to making an impact on social media, and this goes for events too. At some point or another we’ve had an event attendee clog up our feed by endlessly repeating quotes from speakers. If a speaker has something interesting to say, quote them, but add your own comments too – this way you’re enriching the content, demonstrating your expertise and standing out from the crowd. If you see another user making an interesting point, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them, reach out and connect!
Of course, it’s not just the attendees who have had to expand their skill set. Event organisers now need to think about creating an online space to match the physical event. Hashtags are essential for any successful event, making it easier for attendees to connect and share thoughts, while branded hashtags have the added advantage of increasing brand exposure to an online audience who may not be able to attend in person.
More and more organisers are preparing online content in advance so that attendees have access to important information on the day and also making speakers’ content more shareable. While on the day, they’re dedicating a resource to monitoring the conversation online and resolving any issues or answering any queries.
While maintaining a successful social media presence at an event can be hard work, the rewards are there too. Not only does it increase your opportunities to form valuable connections and gauge the event’s success – it also lives on long after the event is over. Post-event analysis of social media coverage can be beneficial to both the attendees and the organisers as there is time to review, recognise successful strategies, identify opportunities and follow up.
However, one thing above all, is worth remembering when it comes to social media at events. While positive social media impact can be beneficial – don’t ignore other attendees at breaks or networking sessions in favour of sending extra tweets. Remember to be as charming in real life as you are online!
04 February 2015 14:59
There’s no denying that 2014 was the year of ephemeral messaging. Snapchat, probably the best known platform of its kind, reached 100 million monthly active users with 700 million snaps being sent every day. These statistics are even more impressive when you consider that, a little over three years ago, Snapchat didn’t even exist! While Snapchat is the most famous ephemeral platform, we’ve seen an abundance of other similar messaging services appear on the scene, including Wickr, Blink and Facebook’s Slingshot – albeit with varying degrees of success.
Given the popularity of the likes of Snapchat, it isn’t surprising that the marketing community began to experiment, distributing their content ephemerally with a view to reaching an ever-growing audience. One of the world’s most recognisable brands, McDonalds, took to the platform in February for the US launch of a new burger, while other brands and publishers, from Audi to Mashable, have also toyed with creating self-destructing content in a bid to extend their communities.
The buzz around these platforms is undeniable, one only needs to search on Google to see hundreds of thousands of results – but as a tool for the communications expert, will ephemeral messaging services go the distance or will they, like the messages they enable, disappear after the first view? Despite the buzz, in reality only 1% of communications professionals currently use ephemeral messaging as a tool to communicate about their brands. Furthermore 85% have no plans to use them in 2015, according to website socialmediaexaminer.com. So why is something that is being discussed at such lengths, not being used to the same extent?
The difficulty with using ephemeral messages for marketing is the exact thing that makes them popular in the first place – messages cannot be tracked. While marketers can see their message has been viewed, they have no real way of knowing within the app if the content resonated with the viewer. If the message is a video, it’s difficult to ascertain if the full duration has been watched and thus, if the entire message has been communicated. As marketers are pushed more and more to demonstrate the return on investment for social media activity, they can’t afford to essentially shout into the abyss with no tested way of demonstrating return. Many will argue that if a campaign appeals to the audience, they’ll save it and share it by posting to other networks. However, this in itself means that an ephemeral campaign may not be deemed as a success until its content becomes permanent – defeating the whole spirit of ephemerality in the first place.
Then there is the reputation of the platforms to deal with. Many associate Snapchat and its cohorts with “sexting” or other risqué behaviours. This instantly raises a barrier for more “family friendly” brands – which cannot risk, or do not want, such close associations with a “sexting app”. Not to mention the privacy concerns. The numerous hacking scandals within Snapchat’s short history are also a deterrent for brands.
That’s not to say that ephemeral communication is going away. The phenomenon has undeniably changed the way we think about communicating and with platforms like Wickr – an encrypted, ephemeral messaging service, gaining popularity among the business community, the evolution of ephemeral media looks set to continue. However, whether there is a future for ephemeral platforms as marketing aids remains to be seen and by 2016, for the marketers at least, it could be a case of ephemeral by name, ephemeral by nature.
20 January 2015 10:42
Keeping on top or even ahead of the trends in the social media industry can be a huge challenge. As we move into 2015, we asked our social media specialists to predict the trends to watch for the year. Check out their top ten social media predictions in our video and blog post below to see what developments may have an impact on your business during the year!
All Eyes on China
Home to the world’s most active social media community, this year we’ll look more and more to China for new social media trends. The Chinese are ahead of the game in terms of monetizing social messaging, and this is where we’ll borrow most from them. While the West sees in-app purchasing as a trend for 2015, mobile app WeChat is already making it happen in China. WeChat offers highly customisable APIs for retailers to create, not ads, but storefronts within the messaging app. This also means the buyer rarely has to leave the app to make a purchase – saving time and hassle. WeChat has even added a mobile wallet function, allowing users to not only complete online purchases but offline transactions too, such as paying for taxis or even using vending machines. While there are some cultural barriers to adapting all of WeChat’s functions, Facebook, with its increased focus on unbundling and the provision of function-first apps, will be sure to take some inspiration from its success.
Dark Social Sharing : Marketers Strike Back
With the social messaging apps taking over, users are now more difficult to reach and track. Understanding “Dark Social” activity will be a priority for marketers in 2015. To help with this, we’ll see more advanced sharing options like the presence of the “share on whatsapp” button. We’ll also see marketers wrapping content in trackable links to get more insight into shares on closed networks or shares by email. Given that an estimated 72% of content is shared by copying and pasting, brands can’t afford to miss this data when demonstrating ROI.
Just Do It…
Speaking of ROI, performance will be everything in 2015. Now, more than ever, social media is being taken seriously by the C-Suite and marketers will have to prove real successes and real returns. Inflated or vague performance metrics will no longer be acceptable, social media measurement will need to be tied to business impact in a clear and understandable way. Of course, to achieve this success, marketers will need to be a step ahead of their audience and harness the power of social listening in order to align their key messages. To make an impact, messages will need to be more emotive and content will need to be optimised for cross-platform distribution – and special consideration given to wearable technology.
Media on the Move
Whether on a wearable device, smartphone or tablet, it’s predicted that this year 1 billion people will use mobile as their only form of internet access. Mobile optimisation is no longer an option for brands, it is the only option. We’ll see an increase in function-first apps from the major social networks, as they split out their different facilities. We’ve already seen this with Facebook in 2014, introducing Messenger and Groups apps and this one-tap access trend will certainly continue. We’ll also see more demand for responsive design for websites and email marketing, making content more visually appealing for mobile users.
2015 and beyond
They say, if you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind. Now users are looking for a platform that will move with them, that will save them time and that will provide easier access to the things they need while reducing the noise. Major networks will need to unbundle – following Facebook’s lead – in order to provide function-first apps, allowing users to opt-in to the elements of the platform that they want. Messaging apps will need to expand, offering more retail-friendly APIs and purchase options, like WeChat. Marketers will need to explore dark social in order to measure all social activity and its impact on a business, as the spotlight on social media performance continues to grow. So as 2015 begins our advice to you is; get creative, get moving, and don’t be afraid of the dark!
Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know what trends you’ll be focusing on in 2015 in the comment section. And for those of you who missed them, you can find last year’s predictions here.
07 January 2015 15:31
It happens regularly nowadays – you research a company online and discover a multitude of social media accounts across different platforms. Impressed by their online presence you click into their pages only to discover that most of them haven’t been updated in months, or even years. As a brand follower it can be disappointing and frustrating but for many communications professionals it’s an understandable situation to be in.
Frequently we hear of the “next big thing” in social media, a new platform where, as a business, you “have to” be present. Filled with a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) we explore these new sites. Like the early days of a relationship, we go through the honeymoon period, filled with new experiences and regular updates. In some cases, the relationship grows, we form deeper connections, share more and more common experiences and develop a stable relationship.
Sometimes though, it can feel like things aren’t working out. As busy communications professionals, how do you know when it’s worth making more of an effort to grow your relationship or if it’s time for a social media breakup?
What qualities are you looking for?
Did you have a goal in mind when you set up your account? Whether you wanted to increase brand awareness, generate leads, promote content or solve customer issues, ask yourself if the social network you’re using is helping you achieve these objectives. It’s important to ensure that the time you invest helps you to achieve real business goals.
Does your target audience use the platform? If you’re aiming for an older demographic, Snapchat may not be your best choice, with 71% of users aged under 25 (1). If you’re targeting a primarily male audience, it could be time to consider retiring your Pinterest account, where there are 4 times more female users (2) than male.
It’s also important to consider the mindset of the user when you’re choosing a platform to convey your message. With over 1 billion users, most of your audience is likely to be on Facebook, but if you’re a B2B company is this the best channel to contact them through? LinkedIn’s users are in a business mindset when visiting the platform so despite having a smaller audience than Facebook, the conversion rate for B2B companies on LinkedIn is 80%, compared to Facebook’s 6.7% (3).
Assess your relationship with your followers, fans and connections. Do you know who they are and are they relevant to your business? Most importantly, do they engage with your posts on the platform you’re using? A low engagement rate could suggest that the content you’re producing isn’t of interest to your audience or, that your audience isn’t active on the platform you’re sharing your content on.
Content with your content?
Some platforms are better suited than others to different types of content. For example, if your product or service isn’t very visual it’s likely that an Instagram account for your business will eventually fizzle out. Invest time in a social media network that allows you to share the content that best showcases your business.
Spreading your brand too thinly across multiple social networks risks opportunities to make valuable connections. Evaluate your social media interactions and analyse return on the investment. Don’t be afraid to leave a network that isn’t working for you in favour of turning your focus to one that is.
11 December 2014 16:12
As the European Commission announced plans to rewrite the 2011 directive on copyright, market participants (publishers, internet giants, intermediaries, authors …) met in Brussels on 20th November 2014 to discuss this controversial subject. Kantar Media participated in the event, organised by the European Voice newspaper, under the title: “Copyright 2015: changing the rules for new times?”
During the afternoon, discussions were held on how to adapt copyright in response to technological change: “Faced with the exponential growth of digital content, creative industries are at a turning point where they must adapt and find new ways to generate revenues in this new environment. New technologies have made the global diffusion of and access to virtual content faster and easier but have also paved the way to high volumes of illegal sharing of copyrighted material […].”
Defining common solutions is essential. While today, works are protected by 28 national laws, when it comes to the internet, there are no boundaries. This naturally has consequences for competitiveness but also for the development potential of the digital economy.
On behalf of FIBEP and AMEC, Kantar Media’s Christophe Dickès highlighted the complexity of international content management and the impact on media monitoring and analysis companies and their clients.
Various content management approaches taken by different editors make modes of accessing content change from one country to the next. Sometimes within the same territory, two or even three copyright management models compete at the expense of not just the media intelligence companies and their customers but the publishers themselves.
With this in mind, Kantar Media, with FIBEP and AMEC, called for the simplification of copyright management at a European level. While recognising the need for fair remuneration of publishers, FIBEP and AMEC requested greater flexibility in the use of the content and the creation of a fair market for all stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
Kantar Media – Paris (France)
FIBEP Florian Laszlo – Vienna (Osterreich)
AMEC: Barry Leggetter – London (UK)
27 November 2014 16:34
In today’s ‘always on’ media environment, media monitoring data, once exclusively associated with PR teams, is becoming increasingly utilised across different departments as a way of improving performance.
Companies can immediately identify the potential scope of an issue; understand the value of their efforts in PR, digital marketing, or content marketing more easily; identify cultural nuances across markets or understand their performance in comparison to competitors.
From Sales and Marketing, to HR and Customer Services, our infographic explores the variety of ways in which different teams across organisations can benefit from media monitoring and analysis.