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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

Is the ‘Internet of Things’ becoming a reality?

19 Jun, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

You might not be aware but we are currently approaching the end of Internet of Things Week 2014. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, the Internet of Things (or IoT, or M2M, or machine to machine) refers to an expanding network of interconnected internet-enabled devices.

It’s currently a very hot topic over in Silicon Valley, where they describe it as “a global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases and massive data centres in a world-spanning information fabric”.

So what does that actually mean and what is being done to realise this vision?

Translated into layman’s terms, IoT is billions of gadgets, each one of them connected to the internet and communicating with one another without much in the way of human intervention. John Naughton sums it up nicely: “So your fridge can talk to your smartphone to tell it that you’re running out of milk, while your bathroom scales messages your GP’s computer to let it know that you’re not sticking to your diet plan, and the webcam in your living room sends you a text to tell you that the cat has been sick on the sofa, and cool stuff like that”.

Technology giants are already on the case, viewing IoT as a logical progression from the personal computer and smartphone races of previous years. At its Worldwide Developers conference (WWDC) , Apple introduced Homekit, an Internet of Things platform that will bring together various third-party home automation accessories, enabling users to unlock doors or turn on lights via an iPhone.

Google, too, demonstrated its enthusiasm by paying £1.9bn earlier this year to buy Nest Labs, a home automation company co-founded by the creator of the iPod. Already recognised for its connected thermostats and smoke detectors, the company is currently exploring a range of other applications related to the home – everything from health tracking to security systems.

Household brands EE, John Lewis and Unilever have pledged their support this week for a £1m Launchpad competition which will provide support for early and growth stage businesses working in the Internet of Things space.

Launched Monday at London Technology Week, the competition is the result of a collaboration between Tech City UK, the Technology Strategy Board and Cambridge Wireless and will provide business and marketing support, mentorship, routes to market and grant funding to successful applicants who are developing ideas, prototypes, or have an existing business, and want to accelerate their development.

They are looking for projects that:

  • may be too risky for companies to take forward without support
  • may take companies into new innovative areas
  • the majority of activities are carried out in Cambridge and/or London.

More information on applying is available here.

What value can social media add to conferences?

14 Apr, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Attending the IOC World Conference for Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco last week got me thinking about the value social media adds to such events. Apparently, 84% of organisers use Facebook to promote their events, while 61% use Twitter and 42% use YouTube. It seems that social media not only facilitates knowledge sharing and networking amongst attendees, it can also help create a real buzz that starts before the event and continues long after it ends.

more…

How to reach your audience at the right time on multiple networks

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

Twitter generated an entire ecosystem of social networking apps, each striving to make using multiple social networks, posting everywhere and sharing longer posts, easier. Twitter then started cracking down on how third party apps could use its API and most of us moved back to using each network individually. However, there are still a few apps out there that can make social networking easier and more productive. One of the best is Buffer.

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…

“News = mobile. Mobile = Facebook”? The rise of social sharing news sites

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

In a previous post, I discussed the increasing importance of social media optimisation (SMO) at the expense of traditional SEO methods. This week, I’ll be looking at how traditional publishers are testing this theory with product launches that rely almost entirely on consumer behaviour on Twitter and Facebook.

Buzzfeed, a website that combines a platform for detecting viral content with an editorial process to provide a snapshot of “the viral web in realtime”, revealed that it had reached a record high of 130 million global unique users last month.

The company  credited a lot of the growth to an increase in traffic coming from Facebook. However, Twitter referral traffic has also surged, with 180% growth in the past year. The seven-year-old site is experiencing breakneck growth, with global unique user numbers up 350% year-on-year.

more…

Is social media changing traditional search engine optimisation?

22 Nov, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Some argue that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a flawed concept. At its best, it means no more than following best practice in creating clear, accessible websites with intelligible content and meaningful titles. At its worst, it means compromising on engaging content in an effort to perform better within the mysterious algorithms that determine order rankings in Google search.

To add insult to injury, a striking post by Dan Graziano reveals that organic results may now only make up 13% of a Google search. Despite Google achieving search dominance by providing the best organic results, the company has begun to replace organic results with ‘revenue generating Google products.’ Google’s Adwords account for 29% of the page, while a Google Map takes up 7% and the navigation bar occupies 14% of the page (see image below).

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Google Hummingbird: should publishers be concerned?

14 Oct, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Last month, on the eve of its fifteenth birthday, Google revealed its first brand new search engine algorithm since 2001; Hummingbird.

Unsurprising, Google has not given away any specific details but it has revealed that Hummingbird is focused on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests. As online data volumes increase, we are expected to type more and more words into Google Search to achieve greater accuracy of results. Often we are required to conduct multiple searches to find the correct information, which can be a frustrating and protracted process.

The reason for this inefficiency is that the Search results we currently receive reflect the matching combination of key words that a search phrase contains, rather than the true meaning of the sentence itself. Search results produced by Hummingbird, however, will reflect the full semantic meaning of longer search phrases, and should in theory produce more accurate results.

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Is Google+ the party that people are showing up to fashionably late?

26 Jul, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

At the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference last week, Dan Patmore (Search Marketing Manager for Argos) shared his views on what trends and products digital marketers should be focusing on in the next 12 months. He pointed to insight, technological developments and the importance of the customer. He also (somewhat reluctantly) mentioned Google.

Dan described the launch of Google+  as “the party that nobody came to”.  In other words, there was a huge amount of hype, everybody got very excited, perhaps created an account, and then, nothing. He continued the analogy and surprised some people in the room (including myself) by saying that Google+ in 2013 may well be “the party that people are showing up for fashionably late.”

In January 2013, the Global Web Index revealed that Google+ had overtaken Twitter to become the second largest social network. Google+ now enjoys an impressive 359m monthly active users and brand interaction has apparently grown by 45.5% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.

more…

How can publishers take advantage of Pinterest?

19 Apr, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

This week, Nature Publishing Group announced they had reached 35,000 followers on Pinterest. Given that they had just 127 followers at the end of 2012, this is phenomenal growth. How did they achieve it, I hear you ask? When asked the secret to their success on Twitter, @NatureBlogs replied: “best tip is to continuously update the boards with new images. We make daily (if we can) updates”.  So, given the effort and resource needed to maintain this level of engagement, what can publishers expect in return? Do follower numbers translate into traffic to journal websites?

NPG on Pinterest

Over a year ago, I wrote an introductory blog covering the basic mechanics of Pinterest and the impressive growth it had experienced:  it is still the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million mark. Now with more than 48 million users, Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks on the web. So, how can publishers get a slice of the action?

Add keywords

Pinterest is a popular site but it’s not nearly as saturated as Google search results. While it’s true that most people prefer to browse Pinterest than search it, there are a significant number who want to discover something that hasn’t already been repinned many times, and search is where they do it.

With every image you post, you should include a clear description that people will enjoy reading. The key seems to be mentioning a keyword that reveals few results in Pinterest but is likely to be searched for often. This can help get the exposure necessary to be repinned and therefore reach more people.

Similarly, you can also take advantage of Pinterest’s popularity to get your Pinterest page into Google. Link to your pinboard from your website, during online promotions and from established social media channels to improve the chances of it showing up in Google search results.

Repin others

In a similar vein to Twitter’s retweets, build awareness of your Pinterest account by repinning others. Use both the search function and categories to find other pins relevant to your boards. When you repin another’s pinned picture, they will receive an email notification. Hopefully, they will follow the links to your account and see where you pinned their picture, giving you an opportunity to have them look through your boards. The obvious need here is to have boards that interest your new visitor to the point that they consider following your links to the site you are promoting.

Comment on pins

When you hold your cursor over a pinned picture you see the “comment” tab, the “repin” tab, and the “like” tab. When you make a comment is stays with the picture, so whatever you say has the potential to catch people’s attention and drive traffic. You might even consider some kind of “call to action” (if it’s appropriate). Again, Pinterest will notify the person who pinned the picture that a comment has been made and give them a link to respond to your comment.

Check your stats

Pinterest introduced a web-based analytics tool in March, allowing site owners to track users’ engagement with their sites on the social network.

The free tool allows site owners to track the number of pinners and pins collecting material from their sites, and the number of repinners and repins those initial pins received. Site owners can also track total impressions and reach on the network, as well as referral traffic, both in clicks and unique visitors, sent back to their sites. This is key in understanding your audience’s likes/dislikes, which will feed into the future selection of content to add.

Publishers with successful Pinterest profiles

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