The Global Source for Social Media Researchers

SMRA Blog 

  • 1 Apr 2020 8:47 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    30th of March 2020  

    By: Michalis Michael, CEO of Digital MR

    My perspective is informed by social intelligence which is what I do for a living, as well as stoicism which is a philosophy I admire.

    I will discuss a few related themes in this article.

    The first theme is:

    What can we do differently in order to be helpful to others and survive the covid-19 pandemic intact?

    I will attempt to answer this question for 3 separate constituencies:

    1. market research companies because DigitalMR is one :)
    2. clients of market research — the brands
    3. all individuals, all of us

    The premise for the first theme is that people have to stay at home which results in more time in their hands. They communicate more online, they proactively share more content, respond to more posts and they most definitely read or watch more clips.

    1. Market research companies

    They can play a useful role by tapping into this online chatter to distill the communicated needs and fears along with messages of hope and tips on how to overcome challenges. Distilling and interpreting is what insights practitioners do best.

    There is a multinational market research agency in Brazil and Mexico already doing this with DigitalMR. They provide helpful information to their clients in a daily email. In this day and age harvesting millions of online posts from twitter, FB, IG. forums etc. and using machine learning to annotate them for topics and emotions is indeed doable at a high level of accuracy.

    2. Clients of market research (brands)

    They can listen to what people post about their product categories and brands in order to discover ways to be helpful.

    There are 3 groups of companies: the ones that produce products in high demand (such as toilet paper or disinfectant sprays), the ones that went to zero revenue from one day to the next like a chain of restaurants, and those that are somewhere in between. All can benefit from social listening: from learning how to tap into newly created demand, fine tuning their products to address new needs and struggles, and by providing tips on usage creating good will for the return to normality.

    3. All individuals

    For all the people who are reading this I want to share a few stoic principles:

    It’s not the things that happen in life that drive our emotions and behaviors,
    it’s how we think about those things that does.

    So, when faced with a new challenge I suggest the following thought process inspired by my good friend Justin Stead the founder of Aurelius Foundation:

    It is what it is. I don’t label it, I don’t judge it.
    What is required for a positive outcome?
    Is the action I am about to take driven by altruism, ego or wishful thinking?

    The second theme is:

    How to stay engaged with customers that cannot use your product or service during lockdown.

    As already shared, the pandemic forced companies into one of 3 groups, agencies and brands alike:

    1. those who experience explosive sales growth
    2. zero sales from one day to the next
    3. somewhere in between

    If you are experiencing higher sales as a result of the crisis you have your hands full and you are probably not reading articles like this.

    If your sales went to zero or were reduced drastically, your first concern is obviously to survive, create enough runway for the cash that you have available or can still get. The second concern — assuming the crisis ends before you go bankrupt — is how to keep your customers engaged so as to ensure that your brand equity is strengthened rather than weakened.

    You want to know how?

    Well, social intelligence is the answer.

    What is it?

    It is thousands of posts harvested from sources such as Twitter, FB, IG, forums, blogs etc. on a daily basis, annotated for topics and sentiment by machine learning algorithms.

    Here are the 10 things you can do to improve your brand equity even while your revenue is plummeting:

    1. understand the biggest challenges resulting from consumers not having access to a product or service and offer them tips on how to deal with the situation e.g. cannot go to a hair salon to dye hair; how to choose and use a hair colorant at home
    2. connect posts about needs and challenges with posts that suggest solutions — by sharing both continually.
    3. find out which social media platforms are the most popular during the crisis by target group so that you can use them to communicate
    4. produce an information campaign with positive developments that give people hope
    5. consolidate all the posts that communicate fear, mistrust, anger and respond with a helpful message
    6. identify scams and myths and communicate them via your information campaign
    7. uncover behaviour, purchasing decision making and product usage changes that might be helpful to you on day 1 when we are on the other side of this pandemic
    8. check what is your brand’s net sentiment score versus your competitors
    9. infer from online activity how your competitors are preparing to hit the ground running on day 1
    10. discover something useful that you did not even know you were looking for

    It is actually simpler than it sounds.

    The 3rd, 4th and 5th themes are:

    New habits that will carry on
    Is lockdown a solution to our climate problem?
    Unique opportunity to press the reset button

  • 26 Mar 2020 8:22 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Netbase & Quid's recent merger is already proving to be an excellent combination. We thought this might be interesting reading with a somewhat entertaining angle (pardon the pun) ! 

    by Paige Leidig | Mar 23, 2020 | MarketingSocial ListeningTrends

    Entertainment Coronavirus

    As the fear of a global pandemic is upon us, consumers are being forced to adapt to new ways of living and socializing, as school and work closures leave millions in seclusion at home. While the population wrestles with the closing of stores, restaurants, and banks, Hollywood is facing its own existential crisis.


    As the world slows down for the foreseeable future, the Box Office Industry turns a grim eye as studios halt productions and opening weekends.  The Entertainment Industry has been hard hit by COVID-19, but is there a way to bring about innovative solutions during this crisis? How can Hollywood assist with viewer morale and benefit from it at the same time?

    Box Office Bust

    This past weekend saw the lowest ticket sales in the United States, with Hollywood garnering only $55 million in revenue. While not unexpected, as movie theaters began operating at 50% capacity or barring their doors altogether, “the impact of this unprecedented situation was apparent across many industries,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. “Of course, movie theaters, amidst reduced capacity and an ever-evolving set of circumstances, had a very challenging weekend.”

    As celebrities like Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, and Idris Elba admit to testing positive for COVID19 . . .


    There has been a definite shift from the previously skeptical public sentiment to one of panic:


    With production studios shutting down and hundreds of thousands of entertainment industry workers out of jobs, studio executives are now facing the possibility of a slow or non-existent Spring and Summer Box Office season. And upwards of $4 billion in lost revenue.

    With big audience draws like Mulan, Quiet Place, Black Widow, and the new James Bond movie being removed from release calendars, “no one can precisely predict when public life will return to normal, but it will return,” Patrick Corcoran, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners, said in a statement on Match 17. “When those titles are rescheduled, they will make for an even fuller slate of offerings than normal as they are slotted into an already robust release schedule later in the year.”

    In the meantime, streaming and on-demand may be an alternative solution to canceling and rescheduling release dates. One that will benefit not only studios but consumers as well. And we can vet plans ahead of moving forward with the benefit of AI-powered market intelligence.

    Visualizing Covid Conversations

    Using Quid’s Text Analysis capabilities, we can visualize what consumers are discussing in terms of the Entertainment Industry and the COVID-19 threat, as well as the state of the market right now:


    We can see that conversation revolves around theater closures and production delays; however, there is a growing interest in online entertainment.


    As people begin to adjust to working from home and social distancing, the demand for streaming services will continue to increase – “Streamers have already changed the way we watch TV—introducing binge-watching and slowly eliminating cable subscriptions—and the more that cable and broadcast series are delayed, the more likely we will continue to move away from the appointment viewing of television’s past.”  

    While a few studios, such as Netflix and Disney, already produce and stream their own content, more companies are beginning to see the benefit to instant releases, especially as more states move to lockdowns.


    “Universal Studios announced Monday that it would begin releasing films like Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt available for in-home, on-demand rentals despite the fact that these films were only recently released.”


    And in a move that would otherwise create backlash among theater chains, Sony released “Bloodshot” to digital streaming just 11 days after it opened, breaking the traditional film distribution schedule.


    Making Maverick Movie Moves

    At $19.99 to download – a price many consumers are more than happy to pay – the release was an endearing hit with fans:


    Will more studios see the benefit of skipping traditional releases? Is some profit better than none?

    As production executives face lay-offs and a decrease in movie-goers and ticket sales, on-demand streaming “will cause a change in how we consume content and allow newer titles to get to home video much faster,” says Asaf Ashkenazi, the COO of Verimatrix, a technology company that works with distributors in Hollywood.

    “If it’s a new title, you can delay it, continue to follow the traditional system and just wait. Or you can be more experimental and go directly to selling or renting online, which will allow more people to access it and get the revenue now.”

    But, how will this play out come award time?

    Roll Out the Red Carpet

    The Oscars traditionally only awarded to films that open in theaters and show for at least 7 days, may be receiving a face lift, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board contemplates rewriting the rules for this year’s awards. And this offers yet another incentive for studios to consider streaming options.

    In these uncertain times, people are looking for normalcy – a break from the news and media outlets, painting fear and uncertainty into their lives.  Production companies would be wise to use this to their benefit and their bottom line. And to monitor online trends around what kinds of movies are resonating with viewers during these trying times. Reach out and we’ll show you how to do just that!

  • 19 Mar 2020 11:31 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    SMRA - Social Media today just sent out this Facebook update: 

    As it seeks to play its part in keeping people informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has announced that it's rolling out a new COVID-19 Information Center panel, which will be featured at the top of all user News Feeds for the foreseeable future.

    Facebook COVID-19 panel

    As you can see here, the new information panel will feature the latest official news and updates on the outbreak, as well as links to helpful articles, videos and posts about social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

    "People can also follow the Coronavirus Information Center to receive updates from health authorities directly in their News Feed. And starting in the US, people will see features to help them connect with local groups and ask for or offer help within their community."

    It's the latest in Facebook's range of efforts to provide assistance amid the evolving crisis - among other additions, Facebook has:

    The Social Network is clearly stepping up to provide support where it can - Facebook's various pledges thus far cumulatively add up to more than $150 million in direct funding, and it's announcing more initiatives every day.

    But these new information panels may actually prove to be the most significant addition yet. Facebook is accessed by 1.66 billion individuals every day, a number that, if anything, will likely increase amid the current push on social isolation. And importantly, a rising number of those users also get news content from the platform. 

    In many applications, this is problematic, as incendiary news reports tend to get more traction on the platform, fueling societal division, but in this instance, the reliance on Facebook for news makes it a key vehicle for the communication up to date, comprehensive, accurate information on the outbreak.

    It's also a good situation for Facebook to showcase its value in a news delivery sense - and how its plans for a dedicated news tab have value, despite certain concerns.  

    In addition to this, Facebook is also making its Workplace Advanced platform available to government agencies and emergency services free of charge for 12 months.

    Facebook Workplace

    "These organizations play a vital role during the coronavirus outbreak, whether it’s acting as first responders or coordinating public information. Workplace can help inform and connect their employees, allowing them to share critical information in real-time and enabling leadership to reach employees via live videos, posts and more."

    Amid the chaos and disruption of the outbreak, Facebook is taking the initiative to showcase its value, and how it can contribute to uniting us, as opposed to the opposite. The various initiatives coming out of its Menlo Park HQ are significant and valuable, and will go a long way to helping as we all work to navigate this new normal. And ideally, come out better on the other side.  

    The new information center panels will initially be rolled out to users in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US, before expanding to more countries "in the coming days". 

    Follow Andrew Hutchinson on TwitterPRINT

  • 10 Mar 2020 8:13 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    For years we’ve complained that one has had to go back to the early 2010s to find an exciting new social-media application. This past year might finally have broken the curse: irresistibly shareable personalized video clips from celebrities and being able to be a text chain with your favorite celebs show that there’s still room for novel ideas to go mainstream even in the face of one giant owning several major social platforms. In addition, 2019 brought both the rise of social shopping as well as the return of niche networks for communities that make far less sense being dumped into a one-size-fits-all group.

    1. CAMEO

    For creating the “famous faces on demand” platform, where fans pay for personal videos from more than 30,000 celebrities

    While it was launched in 2017, this past year marks the Chicago-based company’s pop-culture arrival. Both a utility for, and seemingly the next evolution of modern celebrity, the “famous faces on demand” service allows consumers to book celebrities to create personalized video shout-outs for anything from birthdays to good-luck wishes as well as prom invitations and marriage proposals. In 2019, the company’s employee headcount went from 18 to 135, while participating celebs skyrocketed from 3,000 to more than 20,000. Cameo also expanded internationally to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and raised $50 million in Series B financing.

    Read more about why Cameo is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020.


    For giving notable people like Kerry Washington and Jennifer Lopez the ability to text their fans—and receive texts back

    Launched in summer 2019, this text-based social platform provides celebrities, artists, and their fans a walled garden to connect, away from the prying eyes of trolls, and providing the stars with more information about their fans—age, location, and so forth—than they’re able to get from traditional social like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. So far, Community has kept its numbers deliberately low, less than a thousand celebrities and artists, but it’s an impressive cross section, including Ashton Kutcher (also an investor) Kerry Washington, Dwayne Johnson, Amy Schumer, Paul McCartney, Ninja, and more. Star music manager and Kutcher’s investment partner in Sound Ventures Guy Oseary told Fast Company, “The point is now we don’t have to rely on platforms that share all of our information that don’t give [artists] the information directly. They’re all great platforms for broadcast. We all need them. We all use them. They’re awesome. But if I want to have a more meaningful, more direct connection, [Community] is the platform of the future.”


    For finding new ways to convert inspiration into transactions

    The visual social network has evolved significantly over the past year, growing to about 335 million monthly active users, which is an increase of 26% year over year, outpacing the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Its U.S. audience was up 8% in 2019, while international audience growth was 35%. In terms of revenue, the company made $400 million in 2019 Q4, up 46% year-over-year, taking its 2019 total up to $1.14 billion. Back in September 2019, Pinterest introduced Shop The Look ads that allows advertisers to feature multiple products in a single ad, making it easier for users to buy more stuff from one image. Then in January 2020, it launched Try On, powered by Lens, that allows users to virtually try makeup products from brands like Estée Lauder, Sephora, bareMinerals, Neutrogena, and L’Oreal. Pin that.


    For making Instagram’s “link in bio” into a sleek menu for sharing articles, merch, or paid partnerships

    This Australian company started in 2016 as a way to clear out the “link in bio” clutter from brands and others on Instagram trying to connect followers and their products. Now it links up social followers with your entire online ecosystem, using one link to direct people toward the e-commerce or other content that matters for any business or brand. Over the past year, Linktree averaged 10,000 signups a day, growing its active users by 200% to more than three million, with over 40% of traffic coming from sources other than Instagram, including Twitch, YouTube, and Pinterest. In July 2019, Chance the Rapper used it in his partnership with Lyft to launch his album The Big Day, giving fans the option to download it for free or donate to the Chicago Public Schools through SocialWorks, all within the Lyft app.

    5. LOOSID

    For connecting sober people with each other

    Founded in 2018, Loosid is a digital sober community that makes dating, travel, and socializing easier for those who refrain from alcohol. When nonalcoholic beverages are worth $7 billion more than just four years ago, and zero- or low-alcohol beer is the fifth-fastest growing beer type, Loosid is tapping into the occasions around these trends. In early 2020, the company launched Boozeless Guides, inside looks at local restaurants and bars across the United States that offer alcohol-free drink options.


    For looping in more than 2 billion monthly views and 22 million fans to its TikTok talk show

    Flighthouse was on TikTok when it was still called, and now generates two billion monthly views. The channel passed the 20-million-follower mark this past year, up from 16.8 million. In early 2020, it launched a new music-focused, short-form show on Tik Tok called \”Certified Superfan,” as part of its partnership with Republic Records. Flighthouse has worked with such artists as Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, but also helps lesser-known artists boost their profiles. Their campaign with Niki averaged more than 100,000 reposts a week, turning her track “Indigo” into a Top-5 trending song on TikTok.

    7. HOLLER

    For powering 1 billion animated conversation stickers a day in iMessage, Twitch, and more

    Long the go-to app to have as many animated emoji options to ask your friends if they want to grab some pizza, the New York-based company rebranded from Emogi to Holler, and took its intelligent AI-powered, animated visual content for messaging apps and expanded to create sticker campaigns for brands like Ikea, Snickers, Bud Light, Fox, and Subway. At the same time, it expanded to bring animated content to such platforms as Badoo and Venmo. It grew in 2019 from being a part of a billion messaging conversations a month to a billion a day.

    8. MEWE

    For building the only social network with no ads, no targeting, and a privacy bill of rights

    Given its myriad of challenges around privacy, advertising, and user data, anything with a sales pitch that sounds like the anti-Facebook merits attention. Since 2018, MeWe has grown at a 405% rate, and it hit five million members by mid-2019 and closed a $4.5 million offering, bringing the company’s total funds raised to $15 million. Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee is a board member, and says of the company, “MeWe gives the power of the internet back to the people with a platform built for collaboration and privacy.”

    9. REVEL

    For helping women over 50 gather for friendship

    While most social startups focus on becoming the next flashy digi-bauble of whatever generation is coming next, Revel’s goal is to create a nationwide subscription-based network tailored to women over the age of 50, helping them foster new relationships. Still in its early stages, so far it has a community of 500 users, and has $2.5 million in funding led by Forerunner Ventures. Age may be just a number, but the number of people in an often-forgotten social demographic—like the opportunity it represents—is huge.


    For re-creating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on Twitch

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the achievement of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 “Moonshot” speech, the library partnered with its marketing agency Digitas to create JFK Moonshot, a fully synchronized, augmented-reality app that re-created Apollo 11 where every moment, maneuver, and milestone unfolded in real time, second by second, precisely 50 years later. It also followed the lunar mission on social media in real time, using almost 110 hours of Apollo 11 audio transmissions, fullscreen 3D animations, and live Twitter feeds in the voice of the astronauts. With more than 240 million brand impressions, the effort helped a new generation of Americans experience and get excited about space exploration.

    A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.

  • 19 Feb 2020 9:21 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Our partners over at Clemson's Social Media Listening Center will be analyzing online conversations around this year's elections. 

    Michael Staton, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

    February 18, 2020


    Social Media Listening Center

    Clemson faculty will take advantage of powerful social media analytics to inform political polling.

    Clemson University will revive and modernize its Palmetto Poll by combining social media analytics with traditional polling methods in the statewide public opinion survey. Clemson faculty involved in the Palmetto Poll are already gathering data from political conversation using the university’s Social Media Listening Center in order to inform polling activities around the 2020 Democratic primary and the 2020 presidential election.

    The poll has contributed to the public dialogue among South Carolinians since 1999 by sharing information about the attitudes, behaviors and characteristics of the state’s voters obtained through traditional polling methods. Bruce Ransom, professor in Clemson’s political science department, has served as co-director of the poll since its inception. Ransom said the center is one of the few of its kind in the country, and with the political conversation increasingly moving online, it will prove to be a valuable tool in providing information on voter attitudes.

    “We’re excited to partner with faculty and students in the Social Media Listening Center to continually monitor political conversation,” Ransom said. “It is now common sense to start with online conversation to acquire data that will accompany and inform any traditional polling we perform in the coming months.”

    The entirety of the Palmetto Poll’s participating faculty and resources come from Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. Ransom and other faculty members began analyzing data on various social media platforms in May 2019. Steven Miller, associate professor in Clemson’s political science department, saw the benefit of leveraging the capabilities of the center to identify and begin monitoring keywords and attitudes toward candidates as the Democratic primary contenders emerged.

    The center’s technology allows searches to be as broad or narrow as users require them to be, so by fine-tuning search criteria, faculty can drill down on South Carolina residents’ social activity and attitudes toward political topics.

    By continually monitoring keywords and mentions of primary candidates’ names, the center’s technology allows faculty to monitor general “buzz” around candidates as well as how successfully media coverage has fanned discussion of political topics on social media. Miller said the real power of the center will come as conversation and the topic of the day changes leading up to elections.

    “The center is a powerful tool simply because we can augment searches and add new searches on the fly as the conversation changes,” Miller said. “We are also looking forward to engaging with social users and asking them questions directly through each social platform.”

    Miller said faculty have addressed the potential unrepresentative samples that social media can provide by developing a sampling framework and statistical technique to generate state-level estimates of public opinion. Miller said this technique will meet or exceed response rates to random digit dialing techniques, which have long been considered the gold standard of public opinion polling.

    This is not the first time the listening center has been tapped to monitor conversation around elections. According to Joseph Mazer, chair of Clemson’s communication department that houses the listening center, faculty and regional news networks have worked with the center to monitor political conversation in real time, most notably overnight during the 2016 presidential election.

    However, he sees this new approach to the Palmetto Poll as a truly unique way to employ the listening center as a political research hub. Both the communication and political science departments are housed within Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, and Mazer said he hopes this is the start of an ongoing college initiative that will foster quality research, public engagement and student learning.

    “It is always exciting to see the center used in new and creative ways, and as users get more acclimated to the powerful technology that powers the center, searches and results will only get better and more accurate,” Mazer said. “The center will go far in making the Palmetto Poll as reliable and relevant as any other poll in the state and across the nation.”

    Ransom, political science professor emeritus David Woodard, social media professor Will Henderson and several student researchers will staff the Social Media Listening Center in the lead up to South Carolina’s Feb. 29 Democratic primary election. Faculty and students will offer media availability on the following dates:

    Feb. 25, 2–11 p.m. – social media coverage of the Democratic presidential primary debate

    Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. – press conference announcing the results of the Palmetto Poll, led by Ransom and Woodard, with a prediction on the winner of the Feb. 29 Democratic presidential primary election

    Feb. 29, 2-11 p.m. – social media coverage of the Democratic presidential primary election

    The Social Media Listening Center is located in Daniel Hall Room 304 on the Clemson University campus.

  • 2 Feb 2020 8:37 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Social Media Today: Andrew Hutchinson 


     Jan. 28, 2020

    While other social platforms rise and fall, Facebook, seemingly despite various controversies, has continued to add more daily and monthly active users as time goes on - and The Social Network shows no sign of any significant slow-down on the immediate horizon.

    Of course, that's not the complete picture. While Facebook has continued to add more users in developing markets, some have suggested that the time people spend on Facebook, on average, has been in decline in recent years.

    Facebook's last official update on time spent in its apps came in 2016, when it reported that users were spending 50 minutes per day using Facebook, Instagram and/or Messenger - though that's not Facebook-specific. The company did provide something of update to this number in 2018, when it reported that changes to Facebook's News Feed had resulted in a 5% decline in time spent in the app. Estimates suggest that this reduced the Facebook time spent figure to around 41 minutes per day within the app, though again, the numbers here are not Facebook-specific, and the subsequent increases in Instagram and Messenger usage cloud the data somewhat.

    But even on the face of it, the 2018 update does show a slowdown. Facebook users were spending 40 minutes per day in the app back in 2014, so even if that 2018 update was Facebook-specific, it would show that Facebook hasn't added a heap of time spent within the app over that four-year span.

    Yet, even so, Facebook has the biggest reach, the most significant perceived influence - even if you don't use Facebook for hours each and every day, the data shows that you probably do check it. Maybe you log in to see what your friends and family are up to, maybe you engage in groups, share a couple of links. Even if you spend more time in other apps, you're still exposed to Facebook, and that ubiquity has made it a critical platform for brands in order to connect with their audiences.

    Basically, no matter how you look at it, you need to have a Facebook presence for your brand.

    Are you looking to make more, or better use of Facebook in 2020? If so, then this collection of stats from the team at Hootsuite is for you - they've compiled a listing of key Facebook usage stats to keep in mind, and factor into your planning for the year ahead. 

    Definitely, the numbers are hard to ignore - you can check out Hootsuite's full Facebook stats report here, or take a look at the graphic below.

    Infographic lists key Facebook usage stats

    Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter

  • 26 Jan 2020 7:28 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

     Andrew Hutchinson - Jan. 25, 2020


    This will no doubt be of interest, and will likely spark debate among social media industry watchers.

    Back in October, Instagram launched its new @Creators account, through which it's aiming to share insider insights and tips to help people make the most of the platform.

    And in recent weeks, the account has provided some very interesting insights into the platform's algorithm, common growth hacks like 'comment pods', how it assesses profile verification, etc.

    This week in particular, Instagram has sought to answer common queries around how its feed algorithm works - and while some of the answers it's provided are not 100% clear ("We don't universally favor photos over videos"), they do provide some pretty specific clarification on its rumored workings.

    The Q and As have been posted via the Creator account's Stories, but we've compiled the responses into the below infographic to make it easier to reference.

    If you're not following Instagram's Creator account, it's may well be worth doing so (and thanks to Jack Appleby for alerting us to the most recent Creator updates).

    Instagram Q and A infographic

    Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter

  • 15 Jan 2020 8:45 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    It is a privilege to share this report with you. I find this report refreshing because it is opening up some much needed dialog on all types of research with an emphasis on digital intelligence and where that fits. A friend and colleague of ours, Mark Michelson once told me that he strongly believes in conducting at least 2 methods of research in any research study. I have always hung on to that because I believe many researchers have a misconception of digital intelligence. It is not meant to replace, but to add value.

    Read Jillian Ney's blog post below, detailing the publication of a new report from The Social Intelligence Lab.

    Looking for Better, Faster, Cheaper Consumer Insight

    In the insights world, there’s been a surge in new technologies and solutions to research and understand people.

    We’re in the age of tech-enabled consumer intelligence.

    Text analytics, passive data collection methods, predictive analytics, and niche research data applications are allowing researchers to evolve and go beyond their traditional scope. These new technologies and solutions are also opening ‘research’ to new breeds of niche insights professionals, like CX researchers and social media intelligence researchers.

    There’s a demand for a sophisticated interpretation of data to help in obtaining faster and cheaper insights that can be used in business decision-making. There’s also a growing acceptance from insights professionals that a blend of ‘old’ and ‘new’ research is needed for rigor and speed of insights. 

    Data is becoming a fundamental requirement for successful business strategies, and we are moving towards data insights becoming a core business intelligence function. But this process is not without its challenges. 


    The Challenges

    Where Do New Approaches Fit: Part of the challenge for many insights teams is that they need a deep understanding of how these new technologies and methods fit into their broader set of tools and methodologies that they can use to answer a business question. Weakness in understanding a method can mean it is not taken into account when building the objectives, and it’s also less likely to be chosen as a methodology by the executing teams.

    Accuracy: There is a perception that new technologies and approaches have a lower standard of data quality. They are chosen for speed over accuracy, and used for less complex questions.

    Lack of Expertise: New methods and data require new ways of working and new skill sets, but there’s a shortage of experience. Even full-service agencies or consultants have much expertise in areas like social media intelligence. Clients don’t often see many research agencies offering social intelligence so it never gets tied or tested in small low-risk ways, meaning it never gets fully integrated into the insights function. There’s also too few people who can evaluate new methods and technologies to determine their worth, far too many new methods paint a different picture of the same data. 

    Lack of Platform Knowledge: There’s also a lack of platform knowledge when it comes to using these new technologies. ‘Dashboard drain’ is on the rise from having to learn the functionality and user journeys of many new technologies. There’s a lack of skilled people to properly use the new technologies to reach their full potential.

    Previous Experiences Under Delivered: New methods, like social media intelligence, has previously provided sparse insights that are difficult to interpret. There has been a trend of ‘obvious insight’ with a lack of time dedicated to critical thinking about the findings. 


    Getting You The Insight You Need 

    On one hand, we’re faced with reduced budgets and timescales, and on the other, we have all these new technologies and methods that feel untested and risky. We need a new focus on education and training to help address these challenges, and meet the need for innovation in customer insights.

    So, we’ve put together a collection of discussions, trends, and predictions from some of our leading experts, forward-thinking clients and trusted vendors across our ecosystem. Together they explore the dynamics and challenges of social and digital consumer intelligence across consumer insights. 

  • 18 Dec 2019 8:18 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Influence marketing certainly grew this year and is one of the main reasons brands use social media listening tools. Many marketers are using influencers as one more way to gain creditability and reach consumers. Jim Matorin, founder of SMARTKETING, an innovative marketing company , works with a multitude of product categories- convenience foods, desserts, ethnic foods, plant-based/sustainable foods, etc.. Jim also serves on the SMRA advisory board. 

    He shares with us his views of Influence Marketing in the article below. 

    Influence Marketing – 2019 Awards

    By: Jim Matorin 

    As 2019 comes to a close, I have been culling through all the online content detailing the best of 2019 and forecasting what is coming in 2020. Consequently, I decided to have some fun and draft my own list and award the best influencing marketing movements of 2019.

    Influence Marketer of the Year: Sephora – I have asserted in numerous guest posts, the strategic utilization of macro (greater than 100,000 followers) or micro (10,000 to 100,000 followers) influencers ought to vary by industry. When it comes to fashion, I strongly recommend a macro influencer, the spine of my Global Fashion Influencer post. Global beauty leader Sephora has been a digital/influence marketing pioneer for years. In 2019, to break through the their industry’s clutter of influencers who post beauty tips, it created the #SephoraSquad influence marketing movement. They held a contest to find 24 influencers to work with, both macro and micro (a.k.a. broad and niche influence marketing). In addition, they asked their loyal followers for testimonials and received 250,000. Consequently, their user generated content including video, enabled Sephora to personalize the brand experience for their influencers. Their program validated the marketing axiom “one size does not fit all” and addressed the needs of their diverse customer base. Sephora experienced an increase in engagement, web traffic, leads and sales, plus a gold mine of loyal consumer data.

    Silent Influencers: U.S. Moms – There are approximately 4.5 million mom influencers in the United States (source: Mom 2.0). Originally via blogging and social media, numerous moms recorded all aspects of their daily lives to engage and build community. However, over the years their content evolved into an association with brands and companies. In a viral flash, with one post, popular mom influencers with large followings can either endorse (note: sometimes for free product or sponsorship money) or deflate a brand. The silent influencers have grown in numbers to the point they now have a conference (Mom 2.0 Summit) complete with workshops like “How to Connect and Work with Global Brands.”

    Social Media Platform of the Year: TikTok – Founded in Beijing, China, TikTok is a short video-sharing social networking service. The app (iOS and Android) was launched for markets outside of China in 2017       (over 150 markets in 75 languages). The app experienced a user download explosion, 1.1 billion by March of 2019. Given its popularity among Gen Z, brand marketers are leveraging its user generated video content to create influencer marketing movements.

    Bonne Année!  T

  • 11 Dec 2019 1:38 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Digital Marketing may experience some roadblocks in the next few years. Here is an interesting post by Jeff Green on how the Internet pays for itself. A point of view he feels very few consider. 

    By: Jeff Green

    CEO, The Trade Desk

    Published in World Economic Forum 

    In January, California will implement its Consumer Privacy Act, aimed at enhancing privacy rights and controls for state citizens. This follows the broader GDPR regulations in Europe, as well as preemptive moves by companies such as Apple and Mozilla to restrict the power of internet cookies. Some within the advertising industry are even preparing for a so-called cookieless future.

    What’s often missing from the ongoing debate about such regulation and legislation is any consideration of how the internet pays for itself. As you read the news online or watch the latest binge-worthy series on your smart TV, you are likely paying for it by watching advertising. The more relevant that advertising is to you, the more valuable it is to the advertiser and publisher, and the more it can be used to fund great content.

    For the select few, such as Netflix and The Wall Street Journal, a subscription-based business model works, for now. But in the great scheme of the internet, these subscription success stories are outliers and they will become increasingly rare. The latest research from Deloitte suggests that almost half of US consumers are already starting to experience subscription fatigue.

    For all but the small minority of content providers who can currently sustain a subscription model, the internet is paid for with relevant advertising. This is no different from the way content has been monetized for decades. Whether it was soap companies marketing to 1950s housewives during hour-long daily television dramas or Pepsi sponsoring the Superbowl halftime show, almost all consumer content has had an advertising attachment.

    While the balance between advertising and premium content has always been the value exchange of premium content, it is being tested in a more robust way on the internet, where data can be applied to make the relevance of advertising more precise. Indeed, it is estimated that the internet is funded by advertising to the tune of more than $35 per US consumer, per month.

    But therein lies the emerging, thorny issue of consumer data control and privacy, now rumbling through the tech industry and consuming the time of regulators worldwide. When Facebook was marched to Capitol Hill to explain, in part, how data is used to understand consumer audiences in granular detail, politicians started to appreciate how digital marketing works and the wealth of consumer data that is being mined.

    These are valid concerns: consumers should have comfort that their data is not being misused. Every time you search for something on the web, research or make a purchase online or express your views on social media, data about you is being gathered and stored. As more of that data is aggregated by a few companies, the argument goes, not only is your privacy compromised, but tech giants can use that data to exert growing control over the ad process, driving revenue to and from specific publishers.

    That’s scary, but advertisers come at this from a different perspective and it’s important to consider how they approach funding great content while protecting the consumer. Many of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods and automotive companies, for example, have a decades-long relationship with their most loyal consumers. They know that this loyalty can be destroyed in an instant if the consumer worries that their privacy has been compromised. At the same time, those consumers who understand their side of the value exchange are willing to engage in loyalty programmes, sharing information about themselves, in return for targeted value.

    Advertisers understand this and have come to appreciate that privacy and relevance can co-exist in a digital world awash with data. That means using advances in technology to drive relevance and value in advertising without abusing consumer data. Some advertising pioneers are innovating with technology that will allow them to build anonymized patterns that represent their loyal customer base and understand where those patterns show up elsewhere in the market. In these emerging cases, relevance is all about anonymous patterns and associations rather than any specific form of identifiable personal information. These innovations have the potential to improve the consumer experience – perhaps we will finally get to a point where we don’t all have to sit through hundreds of new car ads when only 5 million people in the US are actively looking for a new car at any given time. Perhaps we’ll get to watch fewer, more relevant and more valuable ads.

    This value exchange is not lost on big tech either: as Google implements changes to its Chrome browser to improve consumer privacy controls, it is doing so in a way that protects the ability to drive advertising relevance. Google understands the crucial role that advertising plays in funding the internet as we know it today and it won’t do anything to destroy that value.

    While new regulations can be helpful to consumers and businesses alike, we have to be careful about the consequences for the vast majority of digital content that is ad-funded. Without valuable ad dollars much of today’s content, including great journalism, will not be sustainable. It is in the advertisers’ interests to make their products as relevant to you as possible and to make your web experience as pleasant as possible. At the same time, they have a similar interest, and the technological ability, to ensure the responsible management of consumer data.

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