tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/content Latest Content content from Econsultancy 2017-07-13T12:00:48+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69243 2017-07-13T12:00:48+01:00 2017-07-13T12:00:48+01:00 Is it time to put the kibosh on the VR hype? Patricio Robles <p>"Pretty soon we're going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you're just there, right there in person," he told the audience. "Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theater with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want.  All these things are going to be possible. And that's why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality. So we can hope to deliver these types of social experiences."</p> <p>But a year and a half later, there's little indication that Zuckerberg's VR vision is progressing towards reality.</p> <h3>Trying to spur adoption</h3> <p>The latest demonstration of that: in an apparent effort to drum up consumer interest in its wares, Oculus, the VR company Facebook acquired for $3bn in 2014, <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608257/another-price-slash-suggests-the-oculus-rift-is-dead-in-the-water/">is temporarily cutting the price</a> of its Rift headset and Touch controllers to $399 from $598.</p> <p>Previously, the cost of the bundle was $798 and some observers are suggesting that at $399, Oculus is likely losing money on each sale.</p> <p>Oculus, which doesn't release sales figures, insists that the price cut is not a result of poor sales. According to Oculus content chief Jason Rubin, the company is more aggressively pushing its hardware because there's now a critical mass of content. "Now is the time to be pushing consumers into the product because they'll find exciting things to do," he told the Wall Street Journal.</p> <p>But despite the fact that there's more VR content than there was a year ago, the Wall Street Journal's Sarah E. Needleman pointed out that "virtual reality still doesn't have a breakout hit game or app, though."</p> <p>With analysts estimating sales of the Oculus Rift, HTCs Vive and PlayStation VR headsets at under 3m units <em>combined</em>, it's clear that VR isn't anywhere near a mainstream breakthrough and according to Reuters' David Ingram, "the industry [is trying] to figure out why the technology for immersive games and stories has not taken off among consumers."</p> <p>There is no shortage of potential reasons, including the possibility that consumers aren't as taken with the idea of sitting around a virtual campfire as Zuckerberg.</p> <p>Whatever the reason or reasons, VR's disappointing consumer adoption certainly isn't the result of lack of investment. Billions of dollars have been poured into the VR market in recent years by folks like Zuckerberg, who declared that VR would "become a part of daily life for billions of people" when Facebook purchased Oculus three years ago.</p> <h2>Better next big things</h2> <p>Right now, the Oculus purchase looks like one of Facebook's least successful acquisitions yet, but while Facebook has the ability to make such bets and absorb the losses if they fail, the VR story is a good reminder that the next big thing doesn't always arrive on time, and that the next big thing might not even be the next big thing.</p> <p>That doesn't mean there aren't markets in which it makes sense for brands to experiment with VR, or that VR won't eventually become important, but in mid-2017 the time has come to acknowledge that the VR hype was very premature and brands have better nascent technologies to pay attention to and invest in.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:ConferenceEvent/840 2017-07-13T06:02:28+01:00 2017-07-13T06:02:28+01:00 Digital Cream Sydney <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Exclusive to 80 senior client side marketers, <strong style="border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Econsultancy's Digital Cream</strong> is one of the industry's landmark events for marketers to:</p> <ul style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">convene and network with like-minded peers from different industries</li> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">exchange experiences</li> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">compare benchmark efforts</li> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">explore the latest best practice</li> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">discuss strategies</li> <li style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">learn from others who face the same challenges with suppliers, technologies and techniques. </li> </ul> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">In a personal and confidential setting (It's Chatham House Rules so what's said at Digital Cream, stays at Digital Cream), the roundtable format is a quick and sure-fire way to find out what's worked and what hasn't, an invaluable opportunity to take time out and come back to the office full of ideas.</p> <h3 style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #004e70;">Roundtable Format</h3> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">There are 8 roundtable topics and each delegate chooses 3 table topics most relevant to you, each session lasting about an hour and fifteen minutes. Each roundtable is independently moderated and focuses on a particular topic discussing challenges or areas of interest nominated by the table's attendees in the time available. This level of input ensures you get the maximum from your day.</p> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Digital Cream has been devised by the analysts and editors at Econsultancy in consultation with the most senior digital buyers in the world and runs in London, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.</p> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong style="border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Attendees pick three tables choices from the following full list of topics offered (extra topics will be removed at a later stage. If there is a topic you'd like to discuss which is not listed here, you can suggest it while registering):</strong> </p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">1. Agile Marketing - Develop a more responsive &amp; customer-centric approach</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">2. Content Marketing Strategy</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">3. Customer Experience Management</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">4. Data-Driven Marketing &amp; Marketing Attribution Management</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">5. Digital Transformation - People, Process &amp; Technology</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">6. Ecommerce</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">7. Email Marketing - Trends, Challenges &amp; Best Practices</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">8. Integrated Search (PPC/SEO) - Trends, Challenges &amp; Best Practices</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">9. Joining Up Online &amp; Offline Channels Data</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">10. Marketing Automation - Best Practices &amp; Implementation</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">11. Mobile Marketing</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">12. Online Advertising - Retargeting, Exchanges &amp; Social Advertising</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">13. Real-Time Brand Marketing - Using Data &amp; Technology To Drive Brand Impact</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;">14. Social Media Measurement &amp; Optimisation</p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;"><strong style="border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong style="border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">&gt;&gt;</strong> <strong style="border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">View past Digital Cream event photos (source: facebook page)</strong><br></strong></p> <p style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/Econsultancy/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=10153875617599327" target="_blank">Digital Cream Sydney 2016</a>, <a style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #004dcc; font-variant: inherit;" href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153214103704327.1073741876.90732954326&amp;type=3" target="_blank">Digital Cream Singapore 2015</a>, <a style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #004dcc; font-variant: inherit;" href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153124439974327.1073741873.90732954326&amp;type=3" target="_blank">Digital Cream Sydney 2015</a>, <a style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #004dcc; font-variant: inherit;" href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152276242849327.1073741856.90732954326&amp;type=3" target="_blank">Digital Cream Melbourne 2014</a> and <a style="border: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #004dcc; font-variant: inherit;" href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152209218799327.1073741854.90732954326&amp;type=3" target="_blank">Digital Cream Hong Kong 2014</a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:WebinarEvent/857 2017-07-05T14:23:28+01:00 2017-07-05T14:23:28+01:00 Content: Trends, Data and Best Practice <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Econsultancy's Trends Webinar for July looks at emerging trends, best practice and case studies around content marketing for 2017. This will be followed by our live Q&amp;A session where you have your questions answered by our Econsultancy Analyst. </p> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">This insight will come from Econsultancy's own research along with collated third-party data and statistics, hosted by our in-house research analyst, Lynette Saunders. This presentation will draw heavily on upcoming research from Econsultancy. </p> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Jessica Paz Jones, who is the Senior Digital Manager – Content, UX and Social Media at NSPCC, the leading children’s charity fighting to end abuse in the UK, will be joining the webinar as a guest host to share how they have approached their content strategy at NSPCC, as well as tips on how to overcome some of the challenges along the journey. </p> <p style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong>Key Points this session will cover: </strong></p> <ul> <li>The key trends and challenges to content marketing emerging from our Econsultancy reports.</li> <li>A framework for building a Content Strategy</li> <li>Measuring the performance of content</li> <li>Best Practice tips and examples</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69165 2017-06-15T15:30:00+01:00 2017-06-15T15:30:00+01:00 Brand as publisher: Is Anheuser-Busch InBev's investment in beer magazines savvy or risky? Patricio Robles <p>For example, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, runs a venture arm called ZX Ventures that has quietly funded a number of beer websites, including RateBeer and Pitchfork's October. The latter is owned by Conde Nast.</p> <p>ZX Ventures' investment in RateBeer was apparently made in October of last year, but only became widely publicized last week <a href="http://goodbeerhunting.com/sightlines/2017/6/2/ratebeer-zx-ventures-acquisition-minority-stake-anheuser-busch-inbev">by Good Beer Hunting</a>, an unaffiliated craft beer website, after some LinkedIn sleuthing.</p> <p>RateBeer bills itself as the "most in-depth, accurate, and one of the most-visited source for beer information." With a focus on craft brewing, it offers its users the ability to rate and review beer as well as businesses that serve beer, such as bars and breweries. It also operates community forums and publishes news stories.</p> <p>The revelation that the world's largest brewer now owns a piece of one of the web's most popular craft brewing sites sparked a lot of controversy. Joseph Tucker, RateBeer's executive director, was forced to make <a href="https://www.ratebeer.com/forums/ratebeer-investment-announcement_296260.htm">an announcement</a> about the investment and his rationale for taking it. He attempted to reassure RateBeer's users that "ZX Ventures has the utmost respect for the integrity of the data and the unbiased service we offer to the entire community and industry."</p> <p>But perhaps not surprisingly, this hasn't satisfied many in the RateBeer community. A number of craft brewers whose beers are listed on RateBeer <a href="https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/craft-breweries-want-their-beers-off-ratebeer-afte.html">have even gone so far as to request that their listings be removed</a>. One craft brewer, Sam Calagione, who runs Dogfish Head, <a href="https://www.dogfish.com/blog/message-sam-current-ratebeer-changes">even suggested</a> that the investment has caused a violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics.</p> <p>"It just doesn’t seem right for a brewer of any kind to be in a position to potentially manipulate what consumers are hearing and saying about beers, how they are rated and which ones are receiving extra publicity on what might appear to be a legitimate, 100 percent user-generated platform," he stated. "It is our opinion that this initiative and others are ethically dubious and that the lack of transparency is troubling."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6800/october.png" alt="october" width="615" height="316"></p> <p><em>The October website</em></p> <h3>Savvy or risky?</h3> <p>While Anheuser-Busch InBev's interest in RateBeer is easy to understand, the reaction to it demonstrates that the wisdom of such investments is subject to debate and here, it would appear that the brewing giant's investment might prove to have been more risky than it was savvy.</p> <p>For brands considering similar investments and hoping to avoid similar situations, it's worth asking the following questions before investing:</p> <p><strong>Could the investment reasonably create a perceived conflict of interest?</strong></p> <p>If the answer is yes, brands should tread very, very carefully. While not necessarily a deal breaker – it's hard for brands to invest in a content producer without there being some concern over the potential conflict of interest – some perceived conflicts are likely to be more problematic than others and this should be taken into account.</p> <p><strong>Will the investment create concerns about competition?</strong></p> <p>The most problematic perceived conflict of interest relates to competitive concerns because in today's environment, many consumers are upset by few things more than the specter of a huge corporation using its might to unfairly crush smaller competitors.</p> <p>In the beer industry, giants like Anheuser-Busch InBev are trying to grapple with the rise of craft brewers, which has in large part been fueled by consumer demand for high-quality beers that aren't produced by mega brewers. In response to the growing popularity of craft beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev has purchased a number of craft brewers. It has also <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/anheuser-busch-inbev-shuts-out-craft-beer-brewers-by-hoarding-hops-2017-05-11">been accused of hoarding hops</a>, causing some to suggest that it is acting in an anti-competitive fashion to shut out smaller players.</p> <p>Here, the competitive concerns that would be raised by the company's investment in a site catering to the craft brewing community were not hard to predict.</p> <p><strong>Will the investment be disclosed publicly?</strong> </p> <p>In most circumstances, there's a strong argument to be made that brand investments in content producers should be transparent. There are a number of reasons for this. Chief among them is the fact that transparency gives the websites in question the opportunity to explain the investment and lay out in detail how it will affect them. As part of this, sites can detail how editorial independence will be protected and what data could be shared with the investor.</p> <p>In the case of RateBeer, the fact that ZX Ventures's investment wasn't disclosed for eight months and was disclosed only after it was discovered by another beer site make it appear that the investment was kept hidden intentionally, which only exacerbates the concerns above.</p> <p><em><strong>More on brands as publishers:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68974-four-examples-of-brands-using-educational-content-marketing/">Four examples of brands using educational content marketing</a></li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67426-why-the-brands-as-publishers-trend-is-utter-nonsense/%20">Why the brands as publishers trend is utter nonsense</a> (a controversial view)</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69174 2017-06-15T09:44:00+01:00 2017-06-15T09:44:00+01:00 Four brands pushing the boundaries of content strategy Richard Jones <p>As a result, brands are exploring how best to expose their content in different ways to suit particular channels and new applications. Here I take a look at four of the best examples.</p> <h3>The Economist</h3> <p>It’s very difficult today to know which new technology will gain traction and where to focus your attention and effort. The Economist has taken an innovative approach to this dilemma by reengineering its core systems to support microservices.  </p> <p>As a result the media organisation is able to present its content to a vast array of external systems. From the same core content, they can now serve very different outputs, tailoring that content to suit a wide range of platforms – from Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles, to Apple News and Snapchat. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6784/ECONOMIST.jpg" alt="economist microservice integration" width="800" height="450"></p> <p>This approach, lead by CTO Mark Brincat, means that the organisation can react quickly to new opportunities and, importantly, can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68313-marketing-attribution-how-many-are-actually-doing-it/">measure the effectiveness of each new channel</a> before deciding if it’s of value to the organisation.</p> <p>The Economist is of course a subscription-based model so it’s interesting to see how they’re engaging with channels that might not be the immediately obvious choices. The media organisation has reported significant success in targeting news to Snapchat and has also created a bite-sized news service known as ‘Espresso’ to target audiences with an appetite for The Economist coverage, but little time on their hands.</p> <h3>William Hill Labs</h3> <p>The purpose of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67093-lessons-from-william-hill-adapting-to-modern-customers-in-a-traditional-industry/">WHLabs Accelerator</a> is to identify and develop technology innovations for the gambling and gaming industry that deliver new and exciting customer experiences. WHLabs is a highly innovative digital division that exposes system APIs to third parties so that they can develop their own applications using William Hill data. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6785/whill_labs.jpg" alt="william hill labs" width="615" height="384"></p> <p>The UK bookmaker recently ran an incubator competition encouraging development teams to submit innovative application ideas that made use of detailed betting and pricing data. </p> <p>Winner <a href="https://developer.williamhill.com/betgame-winner-william-hill%E2%80%99s-industry-first-accelerator-programme">BetGame</a> now has WHLabs’ support in bringing its new betting product to market, while William Hill – always on the lookout for the latest innovations – has enjoyed the advantage of working with some of the latest innovations and most pioneering start-ups</p> <p>By choosing to open up its services to developer partners, William Hill has paved the way for innovative applications and experiments. </p> <h3>Strava</h3> <p>Strava is used to collect exercise data – predominantly from users’ cycling and running activity. Via the application programming interface (API) you can download, analyse, and manipulate your data in far more depth than is possible using the online tools Strava provides.   </p> <p>This has encouraged integration with fitness trackers and health kit applications, along with highly innovative use cases such as 3D video recreations of your cycling experiences with the relive.cc application.</p> <p>By opening-up this data, Strava is enabling third parties to add value to their services in ways that go beyond the capabilities and competencies of Strava’s core business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6786/strava.jpg" alt="strava api" width="615" height="503"></p> <p>The above is a screenshot from a very basic app that uses data from the Strava API. The Predict My Ride app (disclosure: built by my digital agency and consultancy Inviqa<a href="https://inviqa.com/blog/predict-my-ride-building-scala-cycling-app-scratch"> as part of a training exercise</a>) uses an individual’s data from Strava to show how long it would take them to complete the Tour de France (or any other route of their choosing). </p> <p>This is a very simple example but it shows the ease with which brands can effortlessly extend their value to users through third-party channels and applications.</p> <h3>Royal Mail</h3> <p>The Royal Mail collects a great deal of data in its day-to-day operation. One such dataset is its redirections database which is used by customers to automatically re-route their post when moving house. </p> <p>Recently the Royal Mail opened up this data for an online tool that allows users to <a href="http://www.royalmail.com/redirection-moving-map">visualise migration across the country</a> – a unique use of the dataset that gave an interesting perspective on what redirections really mean, along with a nice viral tool that reminded people of this all-important Royal Mail service.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6787/royal_mail.png" alt="royal mail map" width="615" height="288"></p> <p><em>This interactive redirection-moving-map uses Royal Mail content</em></p> <h3>What to consider when opening your content</h3> <p>As businesses race to reach new audiences on new devices in a cost-effective way that carries minimal risk, it’s fascinating to see how companies are innovating with APIs to expose their content to new content-consumers – from health trackers to smart fridges.</p> <p>The end goal, of course, is to monetise content across these channels, which is particularly tricky with the likes of news aggregation platforms. This has lead to some high-profile experiments, <a href="https://digiday.com/media/guardian-pulls-facebooks-instant-articles-apple-news/">as well as exits</a>, from platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News. </p> <p>Most of these exits, however, are simply a sign of brands refocusing their efforts towards other channels where media organisations can better serve their strategic goals. But how that success is measured will of course differ per channel. The Economist’s focus for Snapchat, for example, might be more about attracting a new generation of readers than generating ad views.</p> <p>What’s clear is that this is a fast-evolving marketplace where the simplicity of the mobile-tablet-desktop model no longer applies. Content providers need to be ready to react and experiment with new channels and consumers. </p> <p>But equally they need to be ready to measure and disengage from those channels that are not helping them achieve their business goals.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can download the following reports:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/implementing-content-strategy-digital-best-practice/">Implementing content strategy: Digital best practice</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4147 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 Social Media Best Practice Guide <p>According to research by GlobalWebindex, <strong>93% of internet users have at least one social media account</strong>. With social media touching so many areas of an organisation, the process of getting social media right has never been more important.</p> <p>This <strong>Social Media Best Practice Guide</strong> contains actionable, real-world insight with detailed explanations to help you start and improve your performance on social media platforms.</p> <p>In order to enable you to quickly access the information you need to start improving your marketing efforts, the guide is available as two individual reports:</p> <h3><strong>1. <a title="Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-strategy-best-practice-guide/">Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide</a></strong></h3> <p>The aim of this research is to identify <strong>best practice approaches, techniques, measurement considerations, challenges and opportunities for creating your social media strategy.</strong></p> <p>As social media platforms continue to evolve at a rapid rate we also cover some of the exciting developments taking place in social media.</p> <h3><strong>2. <a title="Social Media Platforms Overview" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-platforms-overview/">Social Media Platforms Overview</a></strong></h3> <p><strong>We've updated our social media platforms overview guide in 2017</strong> to account for the rapid developments occurring in this space. This report's purpose is to provide <strong>a snapshot of the major social media platforms and the most pressing considerations for marketers looking to generate the most value from social media</strong>.</p> <p>It provides a summary of the main features of these platforms, and outlines some of the options available to marketers when developing a paid, owned and earned strategic approach to social media marketing and communications.</p> <p>From Snapchat Lenses and Geofilters and Facebook's latest innovations to Live Video, Augmented Reality and Chatbots, our 2017 edition will ensure that you're up to date with the latest platform trends.</p> <p>Throughout both reports, we bring you <strong>examples of how companies are using social media in different ways, as well as insights from companies interviewed</strong> specifically for these guides.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_IhT9S2YEyY?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>The methodology involved two main phases:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Phase 1:</strong> Desk research to identify relevant issues, examples and models.</li> <li> <strong>Phase 2:</strong> A series of in-depth interviews (20 interviews in total) with a range of senior digital and non-digital marketers, communications leads and social media strategists. Interviewees for the research covered sectors as diverse as aerospace, retail, hospitality, public sector (including government), SaaS, FMCG, non-profit, agency, financial services and media.</li> </ul> <h2>Lead author</h2> <p>The lead author for our social media best practice guides is <strong>Michelle Goodall</strong>, an experienced consultant. She has more than 17 years’ B2C and B2B experience client and agency-side, providing digital transformation and social media strategy advice and support.</p> <p>She has worked with a wide range of clients, including London2012, BBC, Direct Line Group, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Unilever, US Embassy, and many others.</p> <p>Michelle is a trainer and consultant for Econsultancy and can generally be found curating things that smart people write / make / do and getting to grips with Peach and other peripheral / transformative / game-changing technologies for her clients.</p> <h2>Contributors</h2> <p>The author and Econsultancy wish to extend sincere thanks to the following respected professionals who have contributed to the report:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Richard Bagnall</strong> – CEO, PRIME Research UK &amp; SVP PRIME Research Europe</li> <li> <strong>Vikki Chowney</strong> – Director of Content &amp; Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies</li> <li> <strong>Sarah Coggins</strong> – VP, PR and Social Media, Virgin Atlantic</li> <li> <strong>Raluca Efford</strong> – Head of Digital and Social Media Marketing, Direct Line Group</li> <li> <strong>Marisol Grandon</strong> – Head of Creative Content, The Department for International Development (DFID)</li> <li> <strong>Katie McDermott</strong> – Marketing Director, Gourmet Burger Kitchen</li> <li> <strong>Will McInnes</strong> – Chief Marketing Officer, Brandwatch</li> <li> <strong>Kerry Taylor</strong> – Senior Vice President Director of Television, MTV Networks</li> <li> <strong>Guy Stephens</strong> – Social Customer Care Consultant, IBM</li> <li> <strong>Stephen Waddington</strong> – Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum</li> <li> <strong>Scott Wilkinson</strong> – Head of Brand, Acquisitions and Digital, Virgin Media Business</li> <li> <strong>Tom Barker</strong> – Head of Digital, National Trust</li> <li> <strong>Rachel Miller</strong> – CEO, IC Crowd</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4148 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 Social Media Platforms Overview <p>Part of our <a title="Social Media Best Practice Guide" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide/">Social Media Best Practice Guide bundle</a>,<strong> we've updated and refreshed this report for 2017</strong> to reflect on the latest trends and to provide <strong>a snapshot of the major social media platforms and the most pressing considerations for marketers looking to generate the most value from social media</strong>, as well as what to consider when making the business case for social media platforms.</p> <p>From Snapchat Lenses and Geofilters and authentic content such as Live Video to the opportunities of augemented reality and chatbots in social media, we've got the latest trends covered in this 2017 edition of Econsultancy's social platforms overview. </p> <p>The report provides a summary of the main features of social media platforms, and outlines some of the options available to marketers when developing a paid, owned and earned strategic approach to social media marketing and communications.</p> <p>Throughout the report, we bring you <strong>examples of how companies are using social media in different ways, as well as insights from companies interviewed</strong> specifically for this guide.</p> <p>For more details on <strong>best practice approaches, techniques, challenges and opportunities for creating your social media strategy</strong>, read the complementary <strong><a title="Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-strategy-best-practice-guide/">Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide</a></strong>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_IhT9S2YEyY?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>The methodology involved two main phases:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Phase 1:</strong> Desk research to identify relevant issues, examples and models.</li> <li> <strong>Phase 2:</strong> A series of in-depth interviews (20 interviews in total) with a range of senior digital and non-digital marketers, communications leads and social media strategists. Interviewees for the research covered sectors as diverse as aerospace, retail, hospitality, public sector (including government), SaaS, FMCG, non-profit, agency, financial services and media.</li> </ul> <h2>Lead author</h2> <p>The lead author for our social media best practice guides is <strong>Michelle Goodall</strong>, an experienced consultant. She has more than 17 years’ B2C and B2B experience client and agency-side, providing digital transformation and social media strategy advice and support.</p> <p>She has worked with a wide range of clients, including London2012, BBC, Direct Line Group, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Unilever, US Embassy, and many others.</p> <p>Michelle is a trainer and consultant for Econsultancy and can generally be found curating things that smart people write / make / do and getting to grips with Peach and other peripheral / transformative / game-changing technologies for her clients.</p> <h2>Contributors</h2> <p>The author and Econsultancy wish to extend sincere thanks to the following respected professionals who have contributed to the report:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Vikki Chowney</strong> – Director of Content &amp; Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies</li> <li> <strong>Marisol Grandon</strong> – Head of Creative Content, The Department for International Development (DFID)</li> <li> <strong>Will McInnes</strong> – Chief Marketing Officer, Brandwatch</li> <li> <strong>Kerry Taylor</strong> – Senior Vice President Director of Television, MTV Networks</li> <li> <strong>Tom Barker</strong> – Head of Digital, National Trust</li> <li> <strong>Rachel Miller</strong> – CEO, IC Crowd</li> <li> <strong>Stephen Waddington</strong> – Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69004 2017-04-18T14:55:00+01:00 2017-04-18T14:55:00+01:00 As Facebook cracks down on a major spam operation, USA Today loses millions of Likes Patricio Robles <p>The social network <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-security/disrupting-a-major-spam-operation/10154327278540766/">also announced</a> that it disrupted a major spam operation it had been fighting for half a year. According to Facebook, the operation was "made up of inauthentic likes and comments that appear to come from accounts located in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and a number of other countries. We found that most of this activity was generated not through traditional mass account creation methods, but by more sophisticated means that try to mask the fact that the accounts are part of the same coordinated operation. They used tricks to avoid detection, including redirecting their traffic through 'proxies that disguised their location."</p> <p>Facebook believes that the accounts created by the operation, which were still largely dormant, would later have been used to send mass spam to real users.</p> <p>Shabnam Shaik, a member of Facebook's Protect and Care team, explained that "Our systems were able to identify a large portion of this illegitimate activity – and to remove a substantial number of inauthentic likes." He added, "As we remove the rest of the inauthentic likes, we expect that 99% of impacted Pages with more than 10,000 likes will see a drop of less than 3%. None of these likes were the result of paid ads from the affected Pages."</p> <h4>But there apparently was an exception to that: USA Today.</h4> <p>According to social media monitoring platform CrowdTangle, USA Today had more than 15m Likes on Facebook as of last Thursday. By Friday, that figure had dropped to around 10m, and today, USA Today's Facebook Page has well under 10m Likes.</p> <p>As The Daily Caller's Alex Pfeiffer <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/14/facebook-discovers-major-spam-operation-usa-today-likes-plummet/">observed</a>, based on CrowdTangle's data, "no other major publisher appears to have experienced the same drop."</p> <p>While one might jump to the conclusion that the drop indicates USA Today was somehow involved in an effort to artificially inflate its Like count, that isn't the case. In fact, USA Today parent Gannett <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/04/14/facebook-breaks-up-fake-account-ring-targeting-publisher-pages/100451010/">reported</a> suspicious account activity to Facebook, which helped spark the social network's crackdown.</p> <p>According to Maribel Wadsworth, Gannett's chief transformation officer, "USA TODAY NETWORK takes great pride in our journalism and the trust our consumers and advertising partners have in us. Since we first brought this issue to Facebook’s attention, we have been in close communication with them and look forward to a swift solution that prevents this illegitimate activity from happening on our Facebook page in the future."</p> <p>There is irony in this story, however. In January, Jamie Motttram, then USA Today's social chief, bragged on Twitter about the growth of the publisher's Facebook Page, noting that it was the "fastest-growing FB page in news."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The <a href="https://twitter.com/USATODAY">@USATODAY</a> Facebook page passed the 10 million-fans mark! Big milestone for the fastest-growing FB page in news. <a href="https://t.co/ceNeCtcqYM">pic.twitter.com/ceNeCtcqYM</a></p> — Jamie Mottram (@JamieMottram) <a href="https://twitter.com/JamieMottram/status/824991639961747456">January 27, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>The precipitous drop in Likes on the USA Today Facebook Page following Facebook's crackdown suggests that much of that growth was the result of fake account activity, which offers two points publishers active on Facebook might want to mull: </p> <p>1) Clearly, publishers have a limited ability to determine how much of the activity on their Facebook Pages is legitimate, and without Facebook's help, there's little they can do to crack down on bad behavior.</p> <p>2) While Facebook noted that the "illegitimate activity" was in no way related to paid ads, one has to wonder whether investment decisions have been influenced by such activity. After all, publishers are almost certainly influenced by metrics like Likes when determining how much to spend on the social network, directly and indirectly. To the extent that those metrics are inflated, publishers risk increasing spend when it isn't necessarily justified and/or seeing some of their spend go to waste.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68724-marketers-plan-facebook-audits-following-metrics-faux-pas/">Marketers plan Facebook audits after metrics faux pas</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68957 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 The future of content is marketplaces, not AI Ben Davis <h4>AI for content generation is a long way off</h4> <p>Though <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68496-10-examples-of-ai-powered-marketing-software/">AI</a> seems to be a trend that is living up to the hype, content generation is one area where its potential impact is perhaps overblown.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning is proven to craft more effective email subject lines and other short calls to action (such as in display advertising) but natural language processing is nowhere near good enough to craft long form copy.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning can be used to <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/20/14022958/ai-image-manipulation-creation-fakes-audio-video">manipulate images and even create convincing new ones</a> (see below), as well as create movie trailers <a href="https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/09/01/watch-ibm-watson-creates-first-entirely-ai-made-movie-trailer-really-eerie/#.tnw_Z5E40XK8">it seems</a>, but the training of these networks and the 'robot hand-holding' necessary means they are also a long way from proving an autonomous solution.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5400/generated_images.jpg" alt="ai generated images" width="650" height="706"></p> <p><em>Images created by generative networks, <a href="http://www.evolvingai.org/ppgn">via paper</a> by Nguyen A, Clune J, Bengio Y, Dosovitskiy A, Yosinski J</em> </p> <h4>What are content marketplaces?</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are in vogue. They connect businesses with writers, graphic designers, film makers and the like. Though marketplaces are nothing new, the technology they offer is improving and plays a big part in eliminating inefficiencies during large scale content production.</p> <p>One such marketplace is Quill, which specialises in creating what it calls 'primary content', the content that influences consumers at the point of conversion, be it product descriptions or buying guides.</p> <p>Quill's cloud platform automates network management, quality control, production and delivery processes. Work can be viewed and edited in the platform, and APIs can deliver the content to a client's CMS or ecommerce platform. Access to hundreds of freelancers and the automation of bureaucracy such as allocation of tasks and invoicing is what makes this kind of platform a candidate for increasing scale and speed.</p> <p>For companies with thousands of product SKUs, platforms like Quill are a way to achieve well-crafted content quickly.</p> <p>Another notable marketplace is Gigster, this time in engineering. Gigster is a software development service which uses more than 700 freelancers to work on projects for corporate giants such as MasterCard and Airbus. One interesting component of the Gigster service is its use of AI to increase the efficiency of its projects.</p> <p>The company monitors projects to look for patterns that predict bugs or issues with deliverables, assessing activity data across software such as Trello, Slack and GitHub.</p> <p>Gigster ultimately allows its clients to use a blended workforce of inhouse and freelancers, and to develop projects with much greater speed.</p> <h4>Wider workforce trends</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are part of a wider workforce trend for flexible teams that are able to deal with rapid change, as well as create new digital products and services.</p> <p>Though much discussion of digital transformation has focused on the need for companies to create cross-functional internal teams, there are also many benefits of maintaining an external network to assist with task-based work. The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67263-skills-shortage-the-biggest-barrier-to-digital-progress-overtaking-legacy-systems/">digital skills gap</a> has been much publicised and marketplaces allow companies to compete in a competitive jobs market.</p> <p>In Accenture's recent<a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-future-workforce-trends"> research into future workforce trends</a>, 73% of survey respondents said that corporate bureaucracies are stifling productivity and innovation. A large majority (85%) indicated they planned to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year (2017).</p> <p>P&amp;G is one such company that Accenture cites as having recently completed a pilot program using Upwork Enterprise, a freelance management system, with products from the pilot program delivered faster and at lower cost than with conventional methods 60% of the time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5401/marketplaces.jpg" alt="workforce trends" width="615"></p> <p><em>The spectrum of role-based and task-based work, taken from Accenture's Future Workplace Trends.</em></p> <h4>The dispersed workforce model - Automattic</h4> <p>There are some companies that have taken the marketplace model to its logical conclusion and whose core team of full time workers is dispersed, too, thereby allowing the company to pursue the best employees wherever they live.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.inc.com/glenn-leibowitz/meet-the-ceo-running-a-billion-dollar-company-with-no-offices-or-email.html">an interview on Inc.com,</a> Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and CEO of its parent company Automattic, describes the dispersed nature of its workforce:</p> <p>"Automattic is a totally distributed company, so everyone works from wherever they are in the world. It could be a coffee shop, it could be their home, it could be a co-working space. We hire people regardless of where they are.</p> <p>"We now have folks in just over 40 countries. This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech enters."</p> <p>Part of making this model work is ensuring effective communication between remote workers. Much like Quill and Gigster using cloud platforms for workflow, Automattic avoids email and uses its own blog theme called P2 for internal comms.</p> <p>Mullenweg says "I think email is definitely on its way out, between things like <a href="https://p2theme.com/">P2</a> and Slack... Email just has so many things wrong with it. I've never heard anyone who've said they love email, they want more of it--have you?"</p> <p>He continues, "Imagine if, in your company, instead of email, everyone could post and comment on a blog. Different groups or teams could have their own space on it, but fundamentally everything was tagged and traceable and transparent. That's kind of what P2 looks like." </p> <h4>In summary</h4> <p>There are a number of factors that make freelance and content marketplaces increasingly attractive.</p> <ul> <li>A skills shortage means companies cannot always find the right talent to take on full time.</li> <li>Inhouse teams need flexibility, the ability for the team and its skills to wax and wane as projects come and go.</li> <li>Inhouse teams want to avoid bureaucracy wherever possible, using cloud platforms to cut down on admin.</li> <li>Content is so pervasive now and is still a differentiator for businesses both online and off. Compromising on content quality is not an option.</li> </ul> <p>Expect to hear more from marketplaces such as Quill, Gigster, Catalant and Upwork, as the gig economy enables traditional big corporations to innovate in content and beyond.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68980 2017-04-10T15:00:00+01:00 2017-04-10T15:00:00+01:00 Digital advertising is totally out of control Patricio Robles <p>In the past several weeks, major advertisers and ad agenices have pulled ads from Google and YouTube <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/03/27/google-youtube-ad-boycott/">in a boycott</a> that was sparked by a Times investigation which found that ads from prominent brands were being displayed alongside extremist content. By some estimates, the boycott could cost Google hundreds of millions of dollars this year alone.</p> <p>In response, Google has promised change, but the truth of the matter is that the problem appears to be even larger than estimated, as practically everywhere observers look, they are finding examples of offensive content being used to serve ads from major brands.</p> <p>Heat Street, for instance, <a href="https://heatst.com/tech/many-popular-youtube-toy-channels-for-kids-contain-bizarre-graphic-poop-videos/">has detailed</a> how popular toy channels on YouTube targeting parents and children, some with millions of subscribers, are home to bizarre "poop" videos. "The videos feature children, some as old as 10, playing with fake human excrement-sometimes even eating it. Often these videos will wrack up exponentially more views than straight toy videos on the channel," it writes.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5338/weirdyoutubevideo.jpg" alt="" width="619" height="379"></p> <p>One disturbing video published on a YouTube channel with 4.5 million subscribers and run by a family that has had a book published by Hachette "shows two young girls who appear to mock defecate in a toilet and smear themselves in fake poop. One of the girls even throws a realistic-looking stool at the other girl, who catches it and then drops it on the floor."</p> <p>Another channel features even more bizarre and disturbing content, such as a video with the title "POOP EXPLOSION Silicone Baby Doll Poops and Pees Diaper Change Poop Drink and Wet Feeding Baby Video." The channel is run by a school teacher who says she's now making so much money from YouTube that she has stopped making toy dolls, ostensibly to focus on her videos.</p> <p><strong>That money frequently comes from brand advertisers whose ads are displayed with this content.</strong></p> <p>It's not that advertisers are intending to be a piggy bank for YouTubers who produce bizarre poop videos. When Heat Street reached out to Dell and Citibank, whose ads were displayed on some of the disturbing videos it identified in its investigation, Dell explained that it "works with our media partners to indicate what types of sites we'd like to be associated with and which sites to block. Unfortunately these sites are proliferating at an accelerated rate and often slip through the cracks." </p> <p>Citibank offered a slightly different spin, telling Heat Street, "We have a number of policies and procedures in place for our vendors designed to help prevent our advertising from appearing in connection with inappropriate content. In the rare event that an ad appears on a site with inappropriate or offensive content, we demand its immediate removal."</p> <p><strong>The problem for advertisers is that incidences of their ads being displayed with questionable content are anything but "rare."</strong> On platforms like YouTube, it doesn't take much time to find ads appearing with videos that are offensive by any reasonable measure. </p> <p>Take, for example, the countless "prank" videos that have proliferated on Google's crown jewel of video. Many contain content that is objectively violent, sexual, degrading, racist, sexist or just downright disgusting. No brand would reasonably consider this content "brand safe," but that doesn't mean their ads aren't being displayed with it.</p> <p>Unfortunately, while there are almost certainly steps Google and advertisers can take to deal with some of the most egregious examples of brand-unsafe content, there is a more fundamental problem: the incentives for advertisers and content creators in the digital ad market are totally perverse.</p> <p>Whether the industry wants to accept it or not, the digital advertising market is currently in a race to the bottom. Content creators are going to extremes, literally and figuratively, to create content that captures eyeballs because...wait for it...advertisers want eyeballs.</p> <p>To its credit, Google has started to take action. For example, YouTube last week <a href="https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2017/04/introducing-expanded-youtube-partner.html">announced</a> that it will now require content creators to rack up 10,000 views on their channels before those channels can participate in YouTube's partner program, which allows content creators to monetize their videos. But while that will likely help protect content creators from impersonators who steal their content, it's not clear that it will do much to improve the overall YouTube advertising ecosystem. After all, as Heat Street's investigation demonstrated, there are content creators whose videos have generated far more than 10,000 views publishing content that no brand advertiser would see value in.</p> <p>At the end of the day, unless and until advertisers reign in their unhealthy thirst for reach and efficiency at all costs and start <em>forcing</em> content creators and ad platforms to do better, the digital advertising market will continue to be the source of an unpleasant stench and brands will increasingly find that they are on the receiving end of the complaints about it.</p> <p>Fortunately, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68259-are-online-advertisers-wising-up-about-content-quality/">advertisers seem to be wising up about content quality</a> and the YouTube boycott suggests that advertisers may have finally reached a breaking point. But if they expect meaningful change, they will need to continue to put pressure on content creators and digital ad giants like Google because the out of control situation will not be fixed in a matter of weeks or even months.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68650-the-future-of-programmatic-2017-and-beyond/">The future of programmatic: 2017 and beyond</a></li> </ul>