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Brands

What does it mean to be Social at Heart?

11 Jul, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Last week I attended the IAB annual social media event; ‘Social at Heart’. Here’s a round up of key messages presented by an impressive group of speakers, including representatives from BuzzFeed, Twitter, Google and UNICEF.

IAB Social at Heart Event


Social & Content
Will Hayward, Vice President, Advertising at BuzzFeed

  • BuzzFeed receives 75% of visits from social platforms and 50% from mobile
  • It’s better to target small niche groups of people than a broad audience – they are much more likely to share your content with their peers
  • Sharing is the new system of distribution and brands must think about how and why content spreads
  • Memes = Participatory Mass Media
  • “Start with the consumer, do something special” – what are we actually offering consumers that will interest them?
  • Creating content that is relevant will always succeed
  • Do not be the person at the party that only talks about themselves
  • Ensure you’re engaging with your audience on their terms in an environment that is right for them

Social & Social 
Paul Guerrieria, Digital Planner, Google & Will Scougal, Brand Strategy & Creative, Twitter 

  • Google+ is not just a social platform but a social layer that integrates all Google products
  • Hashtags are now searchable on Google
  • Google+ content from brands is pulled onto the Search Engine Results Page for free but there are also links out to relevant hashtags on Twitter and Facebook 
  • Plan for the moment –> Enhance in the stream –> Keep it simple
  • Be proactive around key events but also reactive to events as they happen

Social & Good
Laila Takeh, Digital Strategist and Leader, Unicef 

  • 479,050 tweets and £5.3m raised during Soccer Aid 2014
  • For UNICEF, social = content + influencers + paid media
  • Twitter cards were the most successful engagement trigger in paid social during Soccer Aid
  • Real-time Google Analytics gave team up to date view of what was and wasn’t working – enabled them to be as fluid and responsive as possible
  • UNICEF encourages its employees to tweet in a personal capacity

Social & Devices
Alex Kozloff, Head of Mobile, IAB UK 

  • 19% of the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile site
    have built one that is not transactional 
  • Q4 2013 – 53% of Facebook revenue comes from mobile
  • 4% of the top 50 UK retailers don’t have a transactional PC website
  • 19% of the top the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile site, have built one that is NOT transactional
  • 52% of the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile app, have built one that is NOT transactional

Social & Video
Oliver Smith, Managing Director, EMEA at Unruly

  • Celebrities do not drive online ad sharing
  • No creative device drives sharing more than any other, with the exception of personal triump. Focus on emotions, not creative devices
  • Poorly branding your ad is like throwing away your marketing budget. The average branded video takes 30 seconds to reveal the brand. There is no correlation between level of branding and shareability
  • Pack an emotional punch – videos that elicit a strong emotional response are twice as likely to be shared

Neuromarketing: can science predict (and influence) our purchases?

23 May, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In the 1950s, two scientists at McGill University accidentally discovered an area of the rodent brain now known as ‘the pleasure centre’. Given the opportunity to stimulate their own pleasure centres via a lever-activated electrical current, a group of rats pressed the lever over and over again, going without food and sleep, until many of them died from exhaustion.

Most humans are a little more complex than rats but we are still largely motivated by what makes us feel good, especially in relation to purchasing choices. In light of this, many major corporations are taking a special interest in understanding customers through the mechanics of the human brain. This is the emerging but fast-growing field of ‘neuromarketing’, which uses brain-tracking tools to determine why people prefer some products over others.

What is neuromarketing?

The concept of neuromarketing was developed by psychologists at Harvard University in 1990. For decades, marketers sought to understand what consumers were thinking but have relied on traditional techniques, such as focus groups and surveys. A major advantage of neuromarketing is that metrics are taken solely from brain imaging, removing the possibility of asking the wrong questions or participants not saying what they think.

In 2008, a team of scientists in Germany published a study showing how the brain unconsciously prepares our decisions: several seconds before we consciously decide what we’re going to do, its outcome can be predicted by looking at unconscious activity in our grey matter. “The researchers, from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, told participants in the study that they could freely decide if they wanted to press a button with their left or right hands, whenever they wanted, but they had to remember at which time they felt they had made up their mind. They found that it was possible to predict from their brain signals which option they would choose seven seconds before they consciously made their decision.”

Although a nascent field, neuromarketing has been used by larger corporations for some time. In a study published in 2004 in Neuron, 67 people had their brains scanned while being given the “Pepsi Challenge”, a blind taste test of Coke and Pepsi. Half the subjects chose Pepsi, which produced a stronger response than Coke in the region of the brain thought to process feelings of reward. But when the subjects were made aware that they were drinking Coke, 75% said that Coke tasted better. Their brain activity also changed. The area of the brain that scientists say governs high-level cognitive powers, the lateral prefrontal cortex, and an area related to memory, the hippocampus, were now active, showing that the consumers were thinking about Coke and relating it to memories and other impressions. The results demonstrate that Pepsi should in theory have half the market share, but in reality consumers are influenced for reasons related to their experiences with the Coke brand rather than taste preferences.

Criticism

The field has generated a great deal of controversy, especially in the media. Critics warn of the threat of marketers finding the mythical ‘buy button in the brain’ and deem the field ‘creepy science’, ‘mindreading,’ and the ‘misuse of scientific knowledge’. Some consumer advocate organisations, such as the Center for Digital Democracy, have criticised neuromarketing’s potentially invasive technology. Jeff Chester, the executive director of the organization, claims that neuromarketing is “having an effect on individuals that individuals are not informed about.”

While the emerging field does provide valuable information about the consumer mind, it does not give marketers a “window into the subconscious” or access to a consumer “buy button.” Rather, it is a valuable new tool for market researchers, and definitely one to watch.

iBeacons: a step forward in location based marketing?

21 Mar, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Brands including WHSmith, Macy’s and Eat are using a new technology to deliver targeted messages to their customers’ mobile phones. ‘iBeacons‘ allow retailers to send discounts and offers straight to users who are in a specific location, without the need to open an app, scan a code or browse a website.

iBeacon

iBeacons use a Bluetooth connection to send data to mobile devices from stationary beacons. They use Bluetooth 4.0; a new format of Bluetooth that is built into many modern smartphones. The easiest way to understand how they work is to imagine them in terms of a traditional beacon: an object that sends a signal to communicate its location to those around it. As such, iBeacons only transmit small amounts of information from distances of between two inches to 50 metres.

more…

What does Facebook Paper mean for publishers?

17 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The tech community has been watching closely since Facebook went public in 2012 and began its mission to engage mobile web users. News about younger users abandoning Facebook for the trendier Whats App and Snapchat have fueled many a doomsday warning, but refinements made to the platform’s app over the past year appear to have been successful. According to Facebook, an enormous 945 million out of 1.2 billion monthly active users were using the company’s mobile products by the end of 2013.

Now Facebook wants to offer content serendipity with Paper, a standalone iOS news reader app that delivers human and algorithm-curated full-screen articles and photos in categories you select like Tech, Health, and Pop Culture. Mark Zuckerberg said back in March that he wanted to make Facebook “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” However, it seems that the designers of Paper have come up with something closer to a glossy magazine. more…

Technology predictions for 2014: wearables, branded content and smartphones everywhere

6 Jan, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Predicting the future, especially in the dynamic world of Technology, is a risky business. However, it’s that time of year when the great and good cast caution to the wind and suggest key areas to watch in 2014. Here’s a round-up of the main themes to look out for.

Wearables

This is the big one. A survey for software firm Citrix showed that 91% of Americans are excited about gadgets you can wear – be they glasses, wristbands or clothing. 2014 promises smart-watch launches from Google and Apple, as well as a host of other tech accessories.

more…

Innovative digital campaigns from the festive season

20 Dec, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

TV ads, with their emotive stories and soundtracks, tend to get the most attention in the run-up to Christmas. However, online sales figures show that digital now plays a significant part in seasonal campaigns. And not only in selling, but in promoting and monitoring a campaign too.

YouTube views and social buzz can be a good indicator of how a campaign is doing. With so many consumers now multi-screening (whether stacking or meshing), TV and online are more closely related than ever. The best seasonal advertising campaigns are therefore those that are cross-platform, with online, email marketing and social offering a brand experience that seamlessly blends with and compliments an offline campaign.

Here are some of the best performing and technically advanced campaigns from the past few years.

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The link between social and business objectives

6 Dec, 13 | by BMJ

A key theme of the Corporate Social Media Summit (#csmeu) was how social media can help businesses achieve their strategic objectives.

Ian Robin, Director of Strategic Accounts EMEA at Hootsuite said that much of the confusion around linking the two can be traced back to how social media was originally adopted by organisations, usually in a ‘cottage industry’ fashion by individual departments who wanted to create awareness around a campaign. This approach worked to an extent but created variation across companies and without a clear vision of how social can be used in a strategically meaningful way.

To help unravel the confusion, some speakers at #csmeu gave best practice examples as to how approaches to social media have been tied back to clear business goals. Royal Mail uses Twitter to engage directly with and reply to customer complaints or queries. Martha Roberts, Head of Customer Support, explained that not only does this service help solve customers’ problems but also presents the opportunity to develop a rapport between staff and customers. Staff are given the freedom to use a personable tone of voice and this gives the company the opportunity to shine: not only is it a customer service exercise but also a great PR opportunity. As you can see from the photo below this approach has instilled improved consumer confidence. One of Royal Mail’s priorities is to be customer-focused and through this example you can trace it clearly back to what they’re all about.

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Going native: the right way forward for advertisers?

5 Nov, 13 | by Deji Sodipe, Digital Intern

Earlier this year we introduced the concept of native advertising, which in the context of the advertising world, is still a relatively new concept. In the space of a few years it has developed from a burgeoning and beneficial idea to what many believe will be the advertiser’s tool of the future. Initially picked up and tested by leading digital platforms, such as Google and Youtube, native ads are now a totally integrated part of online browsing.

Social networks in particular have assimilated native ads more than any other platforms, specifically with Facebook’s suggested posts and Twitter’s promoted tweets and users:

native1

native3

more…

How to engage with the diverse community that is Reddit

30 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

An article in The BMJ on muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death received over 55,000 page views in December 2012. On closer inspection, we discovered that 66% of visits to that particular article had come from Reddit, the social content sharing and news aggregator site. In fact, after tracking down the article on reddit.com, we found that the article had generated quite a flurry of conversation, with just under 300 comments.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was a one off, especially given the relevance of the paper to the adolescent users of Reddit. However, another BMJ article seems to have provoked a similar reaction. This study focused on didgeridoo playing as an alternative treatment for sleep apnoea and received a significant 59% of its total traffic from reddit.com.

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Instagram: niche social network or brand platform?

9 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Even if you don’t use the online photo-sharing social networking service that is Instagram, you’ve probably encountered an Instagram image somewhere online. Instagram’s calling card is the photo filter; a digital layer that gives the appearance of professional editing to a standard photo.

With the new addition of video capability on Instagram in June, it’s a good time to talk about how companies are using this rapidly growing platform for business purposes. After all, Instagram already has a built-in audience with 130 million monthly active users, liking on average 1 billion photos each day.

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