One of my favorite parts of working in social media is identifying insights via social listening data to help our clients drive real business decisions that will help propel their brands toward their goals.
Last week, I attended a session called “Using Social Listening in Business” at Social Media Week NYC, hosted by the CMO of Brandwatch, Will McInnes. He made some solid predictions as he discussed the future of social data, which I found to be both very interesting and also parallel to the way we’re thinking about data within our agency. It was a great session to sit in as we’re constantly looking for ways to optimize our social listening strategies and tactics for our clients.
McInnes summed up the future of social data into four categories:
Predictive: We are getting closer to predicting what will happen to consumer behavior, business, or to content based on the data from the past. How will we get even better at it?
Blended: How can we better blend multiple sources of data and research from a business and various sources to help get us closer to real predictions and successes?
Physical: How do we get all of the amazing data we’re finding in the social space to the front lines of a business?
Visual: How can we better and more accurately measure visual user content that may not have keyword branding and is harder to track?
The two ideas I found the most interesting were “Blended” and “Physical.”
The “Blended “ idea makes a lot of sense. As social media becomes more understood in organizations, it becomes an integral part in key brand activations and campaigns. This is resulting in a spike in curiosity about measurement within these organizations, whose marketers are now asking questions about the data and how we can use it more than ever before. The social listening and measurement tools we now have access to provide us with amazing data that can help guide business decisions on their own – but layer that onto sales data, CRM systems, web site and behavioral analytics, search trends, seasonality, and you have a much better picture of the insights. The reality is, this type of collaboration will take buy-in from a variety of stakeholders in an organization, but the ones who do it first will have an edge on the rest.
The “Physical” point also really struck me. As social media strategists, we often are not in the picture when insights found in social data are filtered back out to the physical space (if they are at all). We may help shape recommendations and decks – but they usually are specific to content. McInnes makes the point that the future of social data will include much more than strategic content marketing recommendations based on social, which can create changes in the physical way a business is run, by effecting change in-store, on packaging, in sales messaging, and more.
Overall, a key thing to think about here is expanding social insights and learnings beyond just the digital space.
A Very Social Super Bowl As told by SNICKERS social strategists Hannah Redmond and Rita Mogilanski
Super Bowl 49 was the most social Super Bowl ever. More than 65 million people talked about the game on Facebook and there were 24.9 million posts on Twitter during the game.
Brands are realizing that social media can’t be an afterthought when planning for the big game, but rather social needs to be a central part of the brand’s marketing and communications strategy.
The SNICKERS social team planned for the big day by working closely with partner agencies to plan a cohesive, 360 strategy with multiple touch points. As an official NFL partner and a brand with a Super Bowl commercial, it was imperative that we make the most of the moment.
Predictive and Strategic Research: No brand should wait for a “moment” to jump into the conversation on social media; rather they should arrive at game day prepared.
The social analytics team at Fanscape came armed with information to help inform their social participation strategy, with items including Super Bowl trends from past years, SNICKERS social trends, and a list of brands to monitor. This information was necessary to prepare game day content and help find real-time opportunities during the game.
Rally To Release: The SNICKERS social team worked to help promote the Super Bowl trailer that was released on January 21. Our strategy was based around creating awareness and excitement around the campaign. We wanted to make sure we got fans involved in the process, so we asked them to like, comment, share, view the teaser, or use the official hashtag #EatASNICKERS to encourage SNICKERS to release the full Super Bowl spot before game day. After receiving over 2.5 million engagements, the full commercial was released 4 days before the game.
Social Media Command Center: A social media command center is the best way to track all the game day activity and manage outgoing content. The SNICKERS social team gathered several essential players, including an analyst to identify opportunities and measure and track success, a content and creative team to ideate when “real-time” opportunities presented themselves, an account team to push through client communications, and a community manager to keep a pulse on the community.
Real-Time Engagement: After creating a game time strategy and plan based on research and insights, SNICKERS focused on interacting with brands, fans, and media on Twitter during the game. We inserted the brand voice into the social conversation where relevant, while promoting the Super Bowl spot and NFL partnership.
The most successful SNICKERS tweets were timely and relevant, which is a testament to the planning and strategic partnerships that were in place
The SNICKERS Super Bowl commercial was the 2nd most shared spot on social media
SNICKERS ranked #9 in the top 10 ads based on digital activity
SNICKERS was in the top 5 brands ranked by digital share of voice
Learnings and Recommendations
Include Social Media as Part of 360 Planning Super Bowl planning, including creating a cohesive content strategy, communications plan, and creative elements, takes months. Social media elements should be injected into each part of planning, since Super Bowl has become such a “social moment.”
Involve Consumers Brands that foster consumer involvement earn more shares and a higher share of voice on social media. Whether it is part of the core campaign (like Doritos Crash the Super Bowl) or an activation that brings in or acknowledges fans during the game day conversation (like McDonalds), it is an increasingly important part of marketing during the Super Bowl.
Conduct Social Research Beforehand Don’t wait for a “moment” to chime in on social media. Arrive at game day prepared with conversation metrics and relevant topics from previous years, as well as have already investigated upcoming campaigns from competitors and general advertisers in the space. Making note of what has previously resonated with fans and seeing how other brands are implementing strategy based on their own research can help prepare and preplan content and ways to get into the upcoming social conversation.
Be Present on Game Day
A social media “command center” is more than just multiple computer screens monitoring various hashtags. It is important to create a core team with specific roles to play on game day:
An analyst to help identify content opportunities and measure and track success;
A content team (including creative) to ideate when a “real-time” opportunity presents itself;
An account team to help push through client communication;
A community manager to keep a pulse on the trending topics and brand community conversation.
Each team member plays an important and deliberate role and together they drive success.
Overall, whether brands have an ad in the game or not, there are ways into the Super Bowl social conversation – by finding an angle that makes a brand relevant. Keeping these four elements in mind when creating this angle will set teams up for success.
Hannah and Rita are on the SNICKERS social team at TMADE.
Each year I like to dive into a specific platform that can make an impact for brands in the coming year. In February of 2014, I published “2014: The Year of Tumblr.” This prediction was recently validated, as TechCrunch released data showing that Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social platform.
In 2015, Snapchat is the fastest growing social app. I have received numerous client requests for POVs on the platform, and I was recently briefed by the Snapchat team. What the team unveiled takes the platform to the next level for brands interested in reaching the 14-to-28-year-old demo in 2015.
Snapchat is already the fastest growing social app heading into 2015.
Here are the five reasons to consider Snapchat in 2015:
1. Heavy usage by younger audiences
According to Business Insider, nearly half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat.
A majority of campaign briefs called out some form of Millennial as the target, and Generation Z began to regularly appear toward the end of the year as well. Combine the penetration and rate of growth with new offerings that are designed to further enable brands on the platform, and Snapchat is important to consider for the right brand.
Snapchat launched in 2011 with a heavy emphasis on teen and 20-something users, and it has quickly gained traction over the past few years. Snapchat’s sweet spot is between 14 and 28, with a slight female lean. The numbers are impressive, including the fact that almost 50 percent of U.S. users aged 12 to 24 have tried Snapchat. The company now sits at 100 million active users with 50 million users in the U.S.
When it comes to frequency of use, the platform is even more impressive, as 60 percent of the active users are on the app daily, with frequency numbers as high as 22 timesper day.
For those not familiar with Snapchat, one of the unique elements of the platform is that content “disappears” after a short period of time that is set by the content creator.
Users also have the ability to “doodle” directly on the content to quickly personalize it, as well as add filters and comment on top of content.
To give you further perspective, check out this Snapchat infographic that our team developed in 2013. You can see the explosive growth since then.
If that’s not enough, there are more than 700 million snaps sent everyday. One of the key behavioral factors is tied to the fact that there is a sense of urgency with the content, as it will eventually disappear.
2. Brands are active on Snapchat?
When it comes to the various use cases of Snapchat, users can chat with one-to-one messaging and live video chat, they can consume a feed of directly sent snaps and messages from friends, capture photo and video (filter, doodle, caption), and interact with the story feed.
While some brands go the route of directly sending and feeding snaps and messages, one of the key areas of focus recently has been tied to the “story” feed.
Here is an example from Taco Bell showcasing new products directly to its followers:
The “My Stories” feature was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most popular features within the app. “My Stories” allows users to link multiple snaps together over a 24-hour period. This feature alone is driving more than 1 billion views a day and has become the “go-to” for brands emphasizing a one-to-many strategy on the platform, versus one-to-one messaging.
Here is an example of McDonald’s using multiple snaps to reveal a new product:
3. Snapchat and advertising
When it comes to an approach to advertising, Snapchat is more like BuzzFeed than Facebook. It focuses on contextual relevance of the content to drive impressions versus a highly-targeted approach. Both have their pros and cons, but Snapchat recommends that relevance and authenticity are the keys to success when it comes to advertising within its platform. Furthermore, it has recently introduced the ability to position sponsored content in the friend feed.
A sponsored post is for a period of 24 hours and can be up to 20 seconds of premium content. From a viewability standpoint, Snapchat counts a view as two seconds of consumption, and it states that the biggest difference is its model is built around the idea of connected engagement versus reach and frequency.
Here is an example of sponsored content from the recent “Ouija” movie:
4. Snapchat is opening up opportunities for brands and event sponsorship
One of the latest additions and one of the bigger brand opportunities is tied to the new “Our Story” offering. “Our Story” is a location-based collaborative story that leverages content from events and allows others not attending to directly experience the events. A user at an event has the ability to upload a photo or video snap, and Snapchat drops a Wi-Fi geofence around the event. Content is then aggregated and the “Our Story” content prompt is located in the story feed next to friend content. The video below helps to clarify this new offering:
There is also an opportunity for brands to “sponsor” the “Our Story” events. This comes to life in the form of 10-second interstitial title snaps. The sponsored content is then interlaced through the user-generated content and clearly identifies the sponsor. One key point to consider with this type of offering is to leverage authentic event content versus pre-produced content. This better aligns the message and makes it more contextually relevant.
Check out this example from Samsung tied to the recent “American Music Awards” show:
5. Snapchat partnerships
It was recently reported by multiple media outlets that Snapchat is in negotiations with Comedy Central, Spotify, Vice, and other media publishers for the upcoming launch of “Discover.” “Discover” will most likely serve users articles, music, and videos produced by media companies. This will create an additional avenue to drive contextually relevant native advertising to further monetize the platform.
In addition, Snapchat recently partnered with Square to release a peer-to-peer payment prototype. The prototype allows users to store their debit card via Square to quickly process a payment or send cash to a friend’s bank account through the chat feature. Users can type the dollar sign, an amount, and hit the green button. It is available in the U.S. to those 18 or older with a debit card.
With its diversity of use cases, ease of use, sense of urgency tied to the consumption of content, and focus on enabling brands and partnerships, Snapchat is primed to have a very big 2015.