The Global Source for Social Media Researchers

SMRA Blog 

  • 21 Sep 2018 3:43 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    By:  Jim Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING: Tech-friendly pragmatist that specializes in innovation and revitalizing businesses.

    This past year I have been posting about influence marketing.  My last post being Global Fashion Influencer, specifically macro influencer, Meghan Markle.  For those that have been following me, I am still ambiguous on whether smart marketers should use macro or micro influencers.  I maintain that it varies by industry which was further validated when I read Kathy Doering’s post this past July Walmart is Cozying Up Influencers  detailing Walmart’s implementation of micro influencer content by key product categories (e.g., Bigelow® Green Tea, göt2b® hair products, etc.). 

    Influence marketing update: Is influence marketing an updated version of buzz marketing leveraging the power of social media?  Based on the results Nike experienced with their controversial Colin Kaepernick (“Believe in something.  Even if it means sacrificing everything") ad, I am still bullish about buzz marketing whether it is working the numerous social platforms utilizing influence marketing or implementing a traditional advertising campaign.  Let’s look at the numbers.  According to the Apex Marketing Group, Nike received more than $43 million worth of media exposure in less than 24 hours after the spot ad was posted on Twitter – 44% positive, 25% negative and 31% neutral.  Reuters reported that the brand sold 61% more merchandise in the 10-day period after the ad was posted compared to the 10-day period before the ad was released.  

    Bottomline: Nike knows its customers; two- thirds are younger than 35 and ethnically diverse (source: NPD Group).  Consequently, Nike understands the power of “identity loyalty” where their customers internalize, thus become emotional advocates when their brand is under attack.  Note: The concept of “identity loyalty” was first articulated by Simon Sinek in his famous Ted Talk: “People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

    Conclusion: Savvy marketers are always inventing new marketing terms to position themselves as thought leaders.  Will influence marketing still be a hot topic one year from now?  I have my reservations.  One thing I do know, smart marketers will continue to create marketing movements online and offline utilizing all the tools in their “Show Me the Buzz” tool kit.

  • 20 Sep 2018 8:11 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    From one of our members, Michalis Michael, CEO of DigitalMR.

    By Michalis Michael

    A few years back I was regularly using this quote from former Global Insights Head of P&G Joan Lewis:

    “Survey research will decline dramatically in importance by 2020. Social media listening will replace much of it, adding new dimensions”

    According to a 2016 report by Markets and Markets, the global social media analytics market was US$ 1.6B in 2015. It’s expected to grow to US$ 5.4B by 2020. We have a couple of years to go, and in my view, the total market size for social listening and analytics in 2020 will be over US$ 7B. Whatever the case, Joan’s prediction was off by a few years but not wrong in my opinion.

    Open-minded customer insights practitioners have been seeking ways to integrate social analytics into their insight generation process, however easy or difficult it may have been for them at the start. I personally believe that unsolicited consumer feedback and behaviour tracking will eventually replace tracking surveys entirely.

    Reasons Social Listening Hasn’t Taken Off in Market Research Yet


    One of the main challenges insights managers face is accuracy. These professionals have probably tried some traditional social media monitoring tools in the past. When they realised the sentiment precision* of the analysis they were receiving was nowhere near appropriate for insights (in most cases <60%), their trust was broken. Accuracy = trust in this case. Resultantly, they’re now reluctant to use anything branded as ‘social listening’. Even if it comes from legitimate market research specialists who can conduct social listening & analytics with precision high enough (>80%) to be suitable for consumer insights.

    *accuracy in big data is measured with the following distinct metrics: Precision, Recall and F Score


    Over 1,000 social media monitoring tools exist. How do we expect buyers to make an educated choice and believe in the potential of the tool or solution if we refuse to accept this methodology that makes our lives easier? We must be careful. We should probably come together and set some boundaries to protect the image and value that our industry offers, from aspiring tech companies that don’t care about the accuracy of their data.


    Numerous buyers and use cases for Social Listening within an organisation complicate matters further. Large organisations who tend to be the main buyers of MR want to have a “one stop shop” for various departments: PR, Customer Service, Product Development, Digital Marketing, and Customer Insights. The problem with this is that insights professionals are forced to use the tool their marketing department is already using, rather than searching for an accurate, more appropriate alternative.


    Some die-hard purists stuck in their old ways still ask the question “how representative is the sample”. They’re unable to understand that we are not dealing with a sample and we are not dealing with participants!

    There’s also a misconception that only negative people post online, thus making social analytics biased and unrepresentative. This is far from the truth:

    a) for most product categories most of posts are neutral in sentiment

    b) there are significant variations in sentiment for different categories

    c) even if only negative (or positive) opinions existed online, the rest of the consumers – not posting, just reading – are still impacted by the opinion of the few. Consumer sentiment expressed on social media impacts sales!


    As in many other cases where innovation was introduced into an industry, we need to figure out how to accelerate the education of clients to use it effectively. The only way to do this and convince sceptics is by demonstrating that we can discover relevant and unique insights that enhance or replace surveys and traditional focus groups. We need to prove that social listening data can be integrated with survey and behavioural data to produce an outcome that is by far superior than the sum of its parts.

    Even though we are heading in the right direction, our adoption pace is too slow. All signs show that a slow acceleration has started with big multinational clients leading the way. The only hope for Joan’s prediction to come out right is to experience exponential growth of social listening in MR during the next 2 years. Such a possibility is still in the cards. I now have a new favourite quote I use in conferences and client meetings. It was told to me personally by Tom Emmers, former Senior Global Director CMI of Heineken:

    “I believe that today, given the rapid advancement of capabilities, we should only resort to surveys if we cannot find the answer in social listening or behavioural tracking data”.

    By Michalis Michael, CEO, Digital MR

  • 17 Sep 2018 10:53 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Pew Research's Recent Findings:

    Most Americans continue to get news on social media.


    About two-thirds of Americans get news on social mediaAbout two-thirds of American adults (68%) say they at least occasionally get news on social media, about the same share as at this time in 2017, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Many of these consumers, however, are skeptical of the information they see there: A majority (57%) say they expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate. Still, most social media news consumers say getting news this way has made little difference in their understanding of current events, and more say it has helped than confused them (36% compared with 15%).

    Republicans are more negative about the news they see on social media than Democrats. Among Republican social media news consumers, 72% say they expect the news they see there to be inaccurate, compared with 46% of Democrats and 52% of independents. And while 42% of those Democrats who get news on social media say it has helped their understanding of current events, fewer Republicans (24%) say the same.1 Even among those Americans who say they prefer to get news on social media over other platforms (such as print, TV or radio), a substantial portion (42%) express this skepticism.

    Asked what they like about the news experience on social media, more Americans mention ease of use than content. “Convenience” is by far the most commonly mentioned benefit, (21%), while 8% say they most enjoy the interactions with other people. Fewer social media news consumers say they most like the diversity of the sources available (3%), or the ability to tailor the content they see (2%).

    This study is based on a survey conducted July 30-Aug. 12, 2018, among 4,581 U.S. adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.

    Growth in social media news consumption slows down

    No change in share getting news on social media in 2018About two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) get news on social media sites, about the same as the portion that did so in 2017 (67%). One-in-five get news there often.

    Social media sites as pathways to newsFacebook is still far and away the site Americans most commonly use for news, with little change since 2017. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) get news on Facebook. The next most commonly used site for news is YouTube, with 21% getting news there, followed by Twitter at 12%. Smaller portions of Americans (8% or fewer) get news from other social networks like Instagram, LinkedIn or Snapchat.

    The prominence of each social media site in the news ecosystem depends on two factors: its overall popularity and the extent to which people see news on the site.

    Reddit, Twitter, Facebook stand out as sites with the most news-focused usersReddit, Twitter and Facebook stand out as the sites where the highest portion of users are exposed to news – 67% of Facebook’s users get news there, as do 71% of Twitter’s users and 73% of Reddit users. However, because Facebook’s overall user base is much larger than those of Twitter or Reddit, far more Americans overall get news on Facebook than on the other two sites.

    The other sites studied – including YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and WhatsApp – have less of a news focus among their user base. Fewer than half of each site’s users get news on each platform. Still both YouTube and LinkedIn saw these portions rise over the past year.

    Nearly four-in-ten YouTube users (38%) say they get news on YouTube, slightly higher than the 32% of users who did so last year. And 30% of LinkedIn users get news there, up from 23% in 2017.

    The percentage of U.S. adults who get news on two or more social media sites is 28%, little changed from 2017 (26%).

    Demographics of social media news 

    Social media sites’ news consumers can look vastly different in terms of their demographic makeup. For example, the majority of news consumers on Instagram are nonwhite. Three-quarters of Snapchat’s news consumers are ages 18 to 29, more than any other site. And LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit’s news consumers are more likely to have bachelor’s degrees – 61% of LinkedIn’s news consumers do, as do 46% of Reddit’s news consumers and 41% of Twitter’s news consumers.

    Profiles of social media news consumers

    Most social media news consumers are concerned about inaccuracy, but many still see benefits

    More than half of social media news consumers expect the news there to largely be inaccurateEven though a substantial portion of U.S. adults at least occasionally get news on social media, over half (57%) of these news consumers say they expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate. This is consistent with the low trust in news from social media seen in past surveys. About four-in-ten (42%) expect the news they see on social media to be largely accurate.

    Republicans are more likely than Democrats and independents to be concerned with the inaccuracy of the news they see on social media. Among social media news consumers, about three-quarters of Republicans say this (72%), compared with 46% of Democrats and about half of independents (52%). And, while there are some age differences in expectations of the accuracy of social media news, this party divide persists regardless of age.

    Concerns about the inaccuracies in news on social media are prevalent even among those who say they prefer to get their news there – among this group, 42% say that they expect the news they see to largely be inaccurate. Still, those social media news consumers who prefer other platforms such as print or television for news are even more likely to say they expect the news on social media to be largely inaccurate.

    Inaccuracy tops people's concerns about social mediaNot only do social media news consumers expect the news they see there to be inaccurate, but inaccuracy is the topconcern they bring up about information on social media. When asked an open-ended question about what they dislike most about getting news on social media, concerns about inaccuracy top the list, outstripping concerns about political bias and the bad behavior of others.2 Specifically, about three-in-ten (31%) social media news consumers say that inaccuracy is what they dislike most about the experience. Included in the responses about inaccuracy were concerns about unreliable sources, lack of fact checking, and “fake news.”

    Politics surface as another negative aspect of social media, though at a lower rate – 11% who at least occasionally get news there say there is too much bias or political opinion, either on the part of the news organizations or the people on the platform. About the same share of social media news consumers (10%) say they dislike the low quality of news – such as lack of in-depth coverage, or clickbait-style headlines.

    Convenience and ease seen as most

     enjoyable part of getting news on SM

    ESocial media news consumers like convenience, speed and social interaction

    The most commonly named positive thing about getting news on social media is convenience – 21% say this is what they liked most, with responses such as “It’s very accessible,” “It’s available at the touch of a button” and “I don’t have to go looking for it.”

    Respondents also say they like the interpersonal element: 8% of social media news consumers say they enjoy interacting with others – whether through discussing the news, sharing news with friends and family, or seeing what others’ opinions are. Speed and timeliness are also mentioned as positive aspects of getting news on social media – 7% say they like how quick it is to get news on social media, and 6% say they like that news there is up to date, with descriptions like “up to the minute” or “the most current.”

    A fair share of respondents (12%) say they do not like anything about getting news on social media. This is higher than the percentage who volunteered that they do not dislike anything about news on social media in the previous question (only 4% say this).

  • 12 Sep 2018 11:54 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Do you want to know if your social media marketing efforts are paying off? As a business owner, you should!

    In order to better understand what’s working and what’s not – and to get the best bang for your buck – try incorporating a social media audit.

    What is a Social Media Audit?

    During a social media audit, you collect and analyze detailed data from all of your social media accounts. You look at your activity, results, audience, and dollars spent with the goal of finding out if your social media efforts are relevant to your current objectives and goals.

    Doing an in-depth audit may help you discover you’re spending too much time or money on a platform that’s not delivering results, or that you’re lacking key demographics in your audience on Twitter but not Facebook.

    You need to audit every aspect of your social media marketing to get a complete picture. Try examining the following:

    #1: Metrics

    The first step in your audit is to compile all of the social media metrics you can to evaluate your overall results. These metrics include:

    • Number of followers
    • Likes
    • Shares
    • Comments
    • Clicks
    • Video views
    • Number of followers
    • Post reach
    • Number of mentions (Twitter)

    Get into the details and take a close look at how the results compare on different types of posts. Do you get more engagement from Facebook when you tag influencers than when you share blog posts? Do your video views get more engagement on Instagram or Twitter? Are they steadily increasing over time?

    Determine what types of posts work best on each platform, which platforms are most valuable to you, and how your audience is engaging with you on each platform.

    #2: Analyze Audience Demographics and Interests

    Your social media followers might be different for each platform. The visitors who frequent Pinterest can be quite different than those who use Snapchat.

    You also may be missing one demographic of your target audience if you only advertise on one platform. You probably don’t have as many male followers on Pinterest or you may lack older followers on Snapchat, for example.

    Most social media sites provide audience information, like Facebook’s Audience Insights or Pinterest’s AnalyticsCompare your social media audiences, looking at factors like demographics and interests. If you’re not reaching a key demographic on one platform and you know that demographic is on the platform, figure out why.

    Now that you know who your target audience is and how people are interacting with you on social media, monitor your presence for consistency and quality.

    For example, do you respond rapidly to Facebook messages and emails, but not Twitter direct messages? Is your branding consistent across all platforms (including your bios, logo, and About Me sections)?

    Now, consider what content you publish on each network. Do not duplicate your content on all social channels. If you’re posting the same content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, why would someone subscribe to all three accounts? Make sure your content is appropriate for each social media network’s purpose and audience. For example, Twitter is great for quick communication with fans, sharing useful content, and responding to audience questions. Facebook followers prefer a more engaging approach from brands and don’t mind having a bit of fun. LinkedIn, however, is strictly a professional network, and you should refrain from posting any non-professional messages.

    When you use different networks for publishing different content, you give people a reason to follow you everywhere.

    Is your voice the same on each platform? Are you very formal on one network while communicating in a casual manner on another? Even though each network requires a slightly different approach, you should still maintain a consistent brand voice throughout your entire social media presence.

    To properly represent your brand, your social media accounts should be consistent.

    #4: Audit Your Competition

    Lastly, perform competitive analysis and compare your efforts with what your competition is doing. Pay attention to:

    • Networks they build a presence on
    • How they present themselves (assess their business bios, profiles, and where they link from their social media profiles)
    • What audiences they attract
    • How active they are on each network
    • What content they post
    • How much original content they post and when/how often they post
    • Whether they have any influential followers

    Basically, assess their efforts using the same criteria you would use to audit your own social media accounts. Conducting competitive intelligence will help you gain perspective on your own efforts, establish how you stack up against companies you’re competing with, and discover new opportunities to improve your strategy.

  • 27 Aug 2018 1:13 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great Explanation on The Importance of Using An Agency Who is GDPR Compliant.

    Why a scan, either conducted by ESOMAR or someone else is key to getting GDPR right

    By Kim Smouter

    Why a scan, either conducted by ESOMAR or someone else is key to getting GDPR right

    We are now officially living in a GDPR world, after years of negotiations and a two-year ‘transition’ period, the EU GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation if you’d rather call it by its full name) entered into force in May. Its arrival was heralded with a flurry of emails of all shapes and sizes reaching the inbox of people from the four corners of the world. Thanks to that flurry of emails, if you didn’t know about GDPR before May, your inbox certainly told you about it in the meantime! But, if one looks carefully at all the emails, one can also see patent misunderstandings of the legal requirements to secure consent which has to be informed, unambiguous, freely given, and affirmed by a clear action. The wide variety of emails with an equal diversity of calls to actions (opt-in, opt-out, only opt-in if you want something changed…), some might say companies missed the plot or at least followed less than informed advice! So, whilst the reality might be that there is more awareness than ever before about the EU GDPR’s existence, to say that we all understand what exactly it entails is a whole other enchilada, or cookie, or whatever national dish is best placed at the end of this sentence.

    As the global voice for market, opinion and social research and data analytics, ESOMAR has accompanied the drafting process of the EU GDPR, lobbying on the expansion of the research definition and attempting to secure a wide applicability to the derogations and opportunities offered for processing conducted for a research purpose. In that context we’ve gained a lot of knowledge about the GDPR, what motivated certain obligations, and which ones proved to be particularly difficult to iron out. That expertise is being leveraged for members and by members to improve their GDPR readiness programmes, and for those who already have come a long way in their journey to GDPR compliance to have an independent assessment confirming that the processes in place indeed meet the requirements of GDPR. One of our most popular webinars leading to the GDPR’s adoption was our recommended 12-steps programme which outlined steps that could be taken by companies to achieve a robust compliance programme and have it up and running a year before the GDPR came into play.

    The first step to that programme was assembling a multi-function team to steward the GDPR compliance programme in the organisation because personal data flows go in and out of a company in ways that no single function can realise. Having someone in charge of this is critical to the business bottom line because Data Protection Authorities tasked with enforcing the law will be less forgiving of companies that have put zero effort in setting up a programme. If you haven’t started with your GDPR compliance programme, that team is going to have a lot of work to do and will need support from the entire organisation to catch up on lost time. But never fear, it is better to start the process now and to do it right than to rush and declare yourself GDPR Compliance ready before you are. As the US data protection authority demonstrates, the FTC uses what you say and do against you in its decisions and there’s no reason why an EU data protection authority wouldn’t do the same moving forward.

    One of the important first task this team will need to complete is the conducting of what we like to call a data-mapping scan of the organisation. Even at ESOMAR not a day goes by that we don’t discover a third-party that we haven’t accounted for because it was part of a project run by an internal team and having little impact on the core business functions. It’s these ‘under-the-radar’ processing and transfer activities that can prove particularly difficult to catalogue completely. The objective of a scan should therefore be to zero-in on all the personal data that is collected, processed, and transferred by the organisation and to have a single place which records all of these. The secondary objective of the scan is to identify which of these processes are currently correctly covered by the right legal base, an appropriate retention period, the right communication to the data subject, and subject to the appropriate data processing agreements if it gets passed on further than the organisation. The third objective of the scan is to identify activities and processes where the organisation is not meeting or unlikely to meet GDPR requirements and to identify these as priority tasks for the teams to resolve and thereby improve the GDPR readiness of the company.

    Conducting a scan isn’t easy, even the scan conducted by the ESOMAR Plus team takes easily a good day to conduct just to go through the core functions and to identify the top-line processing activities that might fall under scope of the GDPR. But even the exercise of the on-site scan proves useful for both the organisation and the ESOMAR Plus team because it will form the basis of an action plan and will reassure the organisation that it has a greater visibility of what exactly it is collecting and holding that may become a sitting liability for the organisation. What we’ve found useful with our first ESOMAR Plus subscribers is that by having an external team looking at the organisation it also allows us to identify processes that might be so embedded in the organisation that the organisation itself doesn’t see them for what they are. During the scan nothing should be left unseen or unknown as an incomplete scan only will lead to more difficulties moving forward.

    The scan is conducted alongside the business entities that are running the core business operations, it’s a series of simple interviews with the team where we ask them to describe what they collect that might be classified as personal data, how they collect it and work with it and simply get them to talk about their job. A scan shouldn’t be about judging the business operation simply catalogue what the business operation is like today. So, we go methodically by first understanding the research processes that are collecting personal data, looking at the IT systems that are making the processing and transfer possible, looking at the contractual framework that governs the organisation and its relationship with its business partners, we look at marketing, HR, finance, senior management… all of it must be in scope of the scan for it to be of use to the organisation later. It’s quite an intensive exercise and combined with our half-day training that briefs teams about the key principles of GDPR, we often find that this exercise will sensitize the teams about just how much personal data actually transits through an organisation and the important caretaker role each employee has as regards to that personal data too.

    Organisations that go through the exercise will come out the other hand with a data processing map that consequently allows them to be clearer in their own privacy policies and notices which improves the quality of the information provided to the data subject and decreases the risk of a compliance action against the organisation. One shouldn’t underestimate the quality of that information because most legal bases for processing require clear, transparent, understandable information to be provided to the data subject and failing that, the data subject can always question the legality of the data you’ve collected about them (whether that be a respondent or a member of staff!).

    Performing a scan isn’t a one-hour meeting exercise (if only it could be!), teams need to prepare for it, need to review and assess their current and past projects and the way they work, and these things take time. For those conducting the scan and issuing the report, that process can also easily take (for a small, straight-forward organisation) a full-week from the site visit to producing the report, but as a result of it, the organisation should have a clear understanding of what it needs to do in the coming months to build a compliance programme that prioritises addressing where the organisation and the personal data it has collected are most exposed, and only afterwards, dealing with the processes which are relatively secure. Getting all the stakeholders around the table also often takes time, and with the countdown now completed, time is even more urgent in the event a data subject decides to activate the rights they have on the data you’re holding.

    Data protection authorities are already actively investigating the first complaints and whilst the headline-grabbing tech brands will be the first targeted, one shouldn’t underestimate research organisations and their clients entering their radar as well in the near future.

    So, the question is, have you conducted a scan, and if not, maybe it’s time to ask ESOMAR to conduct one for you so you’re able to demonstrate you’ve started your compliance journey? Because wherever you as a company decide to go, one good thing to always have is a map – whether it’s on your smartphone, in your head, or indeed on paper! That’s what the scan’s outcomes will represent for your company, and the rest you’ll find, will fall right into place.

    Good luck on your compliance journey and remember that you have a partner in ESOMAR to support you to get there.

    Kim Smouter is Head of Public Affairs and Professional Standards at ESOMAR. 

  • 17 Aug 2018 9:53 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    This is a lot of scratch! Again, the power of social media!

    Kohls, DSW and The Children's Place are among the retail brands running back to school ads on Pinterest this year. 

    Amy Gesenhues on August 15, 2018 at 8:59 am


    As students gear up to head back to class, we are at the peak of back-to-school shopping season. Starting in early July and lasting through September, Deloitte’s 2018 Back to School survey reports 90 percent of back-to-school shoppers are most active during the month-long period between late July and early August, with 67 percent of all “back-to-school” shopping dollars spent the first two weeks of August.

    The National Retail Foundation reported that $29.5 billion was spent on K-12 supplies during the 2017 back-to-school shopping season and that families with kids in elementary school spent, on average, $687.

    No wonder Pinterest, with its visual pins and boards of ideas and products, is positioning itself as the place for back-to-school marketers aiming to reach parents during this peak shopping moment.

    Citing comScore data from January 2018, Pinterest says that roughly 47 million US shoppers used its platform to find back-to-school product ideas last year and expects that number to rise this year.

    “With 80 percent of US moms and ~40 percent of US dads on Pinterest, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to reach parents while they shop for the new year,” writes Pinterest insights solutions analysts Eric Alessi on the company’s Business blog. The company adds that it reaches 50 percent of US college-aged students.

    For marketers, the platform has been relatively slow to build out its analytics and ad products compared to other social media platforms. That might be changing. In February, Pinterest hired its first COO, Francoise Brougher, to expand Pinterest’s global operations and advertising business. Since then, it has made Shopping Ads available to all advertisers and rolled out new wide-format video ads among other initiatives.

    A quick “back to school” search on the platform shows a number of major brands running campaigns, including Kohl’s, DSW, The Children’s Place and Shein.

    Other brands we saw running ads on back-to-school-related searches included H&M, FabKids, Toyota USA, Warby Parker ad Mochi Things, among others.

    4C, a Pinterest Marketing Partner, says its clients are spending more on Pinterest.

    In Q2, “Ad spend on Pinterest increased 36 percent year-over-year through 4C, and offerings like Shoppable Pins continue to draw advertisers to the platform,” says 4C CMO Aaron Goldman.

    Pinterest vs. Instagram

    How does that stack up against other channels? Ad spend growth on Pinterest in Q2 outpaced that of Facebook and Twitter, which each saw 26 percent growth. Snapchat and Instagram, however, each saw ad spend growth accelerate year over year faster than Pinterest. Snapchat ad spend rose 45 percent among 4C customers. Instagram ad spend shot up 104 percent compared to Q2 2017.

    “While Pinterest’s highly targeted, inspirational content often gives consumers a quicker path to purchase, the influencer-dominated realm of Instagram provides intensely curated and visually captivating imagery from brands and individuals all over the world,” says Jehan Hamedi, the founder and CEO of the image performance AI software Adhark.

    Adhark’s CEO notes the distinctly different audiences that make up Pinterest and Instagram: “Pinterest skews older, female, and higher income, while Instagram is more distributed across genders and younger.”

    In other words, the Pinterest demographic aligns well with the back-to-school consumer.

    Custora’s head of product management, Jordan Elkind, says Pinterest offers the perfect environment for back-to-school shoppers looking for inspiration. A customer analytics platform that utilizes customer data to provide acquisition and retention insights, Custora’s client list includes well-known brands like Crocs, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole and Lucky Brand.

    Like Instagram, Pinterest also offers advertisers the ability to retarget site visitors, upload customer lists and create lookalike audiences for targeting.

    “Retailers’ first-party data already contains a treasure trove of insights about these shoppers — how they engage with the brand, what they’re interested in, what stories and price points speak to them,” says Elkind. “It’s no surprise that retailers that use Pinterest’s’ audience tools for engaging existing customers and acquiring similar shoppers during the back-to-school period typically see a significantly higher ROI compared to traditional ad targeting approaches.”

  • 2 Aug 2018 4:33 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Dark Social has a strange feeling associated with it. Kind of reminds me of Darth Vader of Star Wars or the Dark Web. However, it really isn't as creepy as it sounds. 

    Perhaps you have heard of it before if you are a digital marketer or if you are involved in social media marketing. Dark Social is actually the place where many shared links online go to die. Think of how many times you share a website link or a post in Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp or email.  When a link is shared this way, it is missing a key element used in Google Analytics called a meta referrer tag. A very important tag that determines where your website traffic is coming from. 

    "The meta referrer tag works with most browsers to pass referrer information in a manner defined by the user. Traffic remains encrypted and all the benefits of using HTTPS remain in place, but now you can pass referrer data to all websites, even those that use HTTP." According to Moz's The Meta Referrer Tag: An Advancement for SEO and the Internet.

    Dark Social, Social Media, B2B PR, Neo PR, IT PR, B2B Tech PR, B2B Technology PR

    Because these links are shared in private "zones" they are unable to be tracked. 

    According to research from RadiumOne, this source of referrals is dominating how people share and interact with content online and accounts for over 84% of all content shared.

    So... what is a brand manager to do? One way is to consider building yourself a team of micro influencers who are loyal to your brand and  are highly connected. Allow them to be your broadcast voice when new products launch, you survey customers, etc. Let your imagination soar and encourage creativity among your staff. 

    Customers LOVE this type of engagement and if it is sent via a private message, they will feel even more important to the influencer and the brand. Ask them to PM all their friends, and so on and so on... 

    Perhaps this is one reason Facebook is tapping into the private message advertising arena~ Paid posts sent via messager will have their analytics tied to it. 

    Kathy Doering is the president of Ann Michaels & Associates. You can reach her at for more information on building a stronger brand in social media. 

  • 29 Jul 2018 7:09 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Study results from Retail's Digital Crossroads indicate that customers expect retailers to keep up with digital. 

    Retailers are embracing digital marketing. But their investments have not kept pace with customer expectations, according to Retail’s Digital Crossroads, a study by Incisiv in partnership with Windstream Enterprise.

    For example, 52% of shoppers value digital receipts via email or text. But only 43% of retailers have invested in them. 

    And 71% of consumers want self-checkout. But only 42% of retailers are providing it. And 59% demand availability of customer Wi-Fi, yet only 47% are supplying it.

    “Consumers clear value the ability to control their checkout experience,” the study notes. It adds: “Millennials and Gen-Z consumers value these capabilities 20-40% higher than the average.”

    The store remains at the core of commerce and brand equity. But 75% of store visits are influenced by digital, and 46% of consumers use their mobile devices in the store 

    Of the latter, 83% use their devices to compare prices, 78% to look at reviews and 76% to check local store inventory. 

    Prior to the visit, 76% use mobile devices to compare prices, 62% to see review and 47% to check out local store inventory. 

    However, an execution gap remains between expectations and fulfillment. Only 38% have sufficiently invested in the ability to compare price, 23% to check inventory and 28% to allow mobile purchases for in-store pickup.

    At the same time, 78% of retailers have overinvested in the function of letting customers find the location of the nearest store, 60% in helping them build a shopping list and 42% in sharing product details on social networks.

    But digital now contributes 49% of consumer electronic sales and influences 16% of in-store purchases. And 40% of sporting goods sales are digital, along with 29% of apparel & footwear buys.

    Incisiv and Windstream Enterprise surveyed 1,212 consumers across several generations. 

  • 23 Jul 2018 4:38 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Surprise move from Walmart: Influence


    JULY 23, 2018 by Ilyse Liffreing

    In its effort to boost the appeal of its website with lifestyle imagery, Walmart is adding influencer content to its website.

    All influencer content appears below product images and the product information on each page, and is different depending on the product. On’s product page for Bigelow Green Tea, a visitor can find images from bloggers’ sites of cakes, muffins and cookies baked using Bigelow Tea, followed by three recipes visitors can download or view to make themselves. Meanwhile, on the product page for Schwarzkopf göt2b hair color, are images of influencers posing with the hair color or using the company’s other hairspray product.

    The integration began in June and so far has resulted in 30 executions with Mondelez, Henkel and Bigelow, have built out their product pages with influencer content, with more on the way. These influencers include Atsuna Matsui, a beauty influencer with nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram, Nicole Weisman, who has nearly 150,000 followers on Instagram @curvestocontour and lifestyle blogger Abril who runs the blog The Color Palette.

    Walmart, facing pressure from Amazon, is doing everything in its to power to stay competitive. In May it redesigned its website to feature more lifestyle content. Having a strong influencer strategy is another way to do so. Amazon has tried and so far has failed, at developing its own influencer play. Agency buyers have stated that Spark, Amazon’s social feed where influencers are meant to post honest reviews of products bought from, has not caught on with brands or influencers. One influencer Digiday interviewed said the platform hasn’t taken off because there was no “return on investment.”

    Walmart doesn’t allow any content to link out from its website because it wants to keep visitors within its sales funnel. That means all influencer content does not link out to the posts or blogs it originates from, and Walmart loses the influence that comes along with their names or profiles.

    “Retailers typically use syndicated content, but it’s very canned,” said Lean Logan, vp of media products and community growth at Collective Bias, a content services provider working with Walmart. “[Walmart] has honed in on showing products in actual context and influencer content does exactly that.”

    Photos from influencer content on one of Schwarzkopf göt2b’s product pages on

    Walmart’s influencer strategy is also being built out in other new ways. Starting in July, the agency began working with brands that sell on to embed buy buttons from into influencer blogs.

    So far 15 blogs, ranging from food-themed blogs like The Craft Patch and beauty themed blogs like The Color Palette, have embedded Walmart buy buttons into their posts.

    Collective Bias is currently charging companies $15,000 to place buy buttons into 15 blog posts.

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