Social Media Week Diary – Part 2

Last night Ella and I went to “Using Data from Social Media to Improve Performance”, an event excellently moderated by Cathy Ma (Head of Social Media, IPC Media).

Peter O’Neill (L3 Analytics), who spoke about the importance of measuring flow between social media and websites, organised the event because he couldn’t see why we would have a social media week with no talks about measurement. Here are a couple of titbits on what the other speakers had to say on social media analytics:

Joshua March – Co-founder/ CEO at Conversocial

Brands often ignore importance of customer service when managing their social media presence. Having a social media expert responding to customer complaints or requests is not enough. Well may they refer a customer to an email address or a phone number, but if a person has chosen to contact you via your Facebook page it is either because they don’t want to email you or because email already hasn’t worked. Put a customer service person (or team) in charge of monitoring your Facebook page or Twitter account, and have a target response time of under an hour.

Josh’s  presentation can be found on the Conversocial blog:

Simon Cast – Head of Products at PeerIndex

Simon Cast – who moved from rocket science to influencer algorithms – presented on how brands can use influencers to gain reach in an efficient way. It was questioned how accurate these algorithms can be (something I’ve previously blogged about). He sees a future where algorithms for these tools are made public (as with PageRank), and could be amended for purpose. If this eventuates this could be an exciting step to keep brands in control of who they see as influential by amending these algorithms themselves.

PeerIndex’s website is here:

Christian Howes – Consultant (recently seen on Big Brother)

Pretty proud of having been banned from major betting retailers, Christian Howes showed how social media analysis can help produce predictions for reality TV shows’ winners and losers. From him we can learn that it’s how you present data just as much as using your brain.

This last comment perhaps seems obvious but I think as analysts we can often forget that part of the puzzle. Cathy Ma hit the nail on the head when she described analysts as storytellers. We have so many data sources available but it is up to us to constantly ask what the data is actually telling us.

Social Media Week Diary – Part 1

The Social Media Week kicked off in twelve cities yesterday, with tons of fascinating talks and workshops taking place everywhere from Shanghai to London. While we won’t have time to attend every event (there is work to be done, too!), we’ll be posting interesting nuggets from the events we’ve managed to go to throughout the week. I started the week by attending a social media case study evening, where four speakers took turns to get on the stage to showcase the social media campaigns they are most proud of.

The cases presented highlighted that we should be getting creative in the ways in which we use data generated by social media, as it can help us understand not only what people think about a brand but what they think about a whole category, it can inspire us to come up with ideas for campaigns, and we could even use the data from social media to track how advertising campaigns are doing in the future.

The idea for craft beer brand BrewDog's Royal Virility Performance beer was inspired by social media conversations.

The various campaigns for the quickly-growing craft beer brand BrewDog, presented by Manifest’s Alex Myers, showed how you can get brilliant ideas from social media conversations that are already taking place. For instance, while listening to conversations about beer, Alex and his team noticed that many beer lovers were ridiculing the cheesy limited-edition beers launched by various brewers in the run-up to the Royal Wedding. Tapping into that, Manifest created a different kind of beer for the occasion, the Royal Virility Performance beer -a beer to commemorate the royal wedding night, enhanced with Viagra. Another idea that derived from listening to online conversations – not just on the brand, but conversations taking place in general – was the #BrewPedia campaign they created on the day of the Wikipedia Blackout. Alex and his team noticed that when lacking accesses to the omniscient wiki, people were asking each other tons of factual questions online.They decided to launch the BrewPedia hashtag campaign, offering answers to any questions that BrewDog drinking social media users might have – these ranged from when Chuck Norris was born to where kebabs originate from.

Christian Gladwell from Human Digital told us he was using social media in a very different but equally ingenious way, and introduced the idea of creating an ad tracker using social media data. While I can’t imagine this working for every campaign – say, those targeting the over 65s- the idea seems to have future potential, especially considering that social media ad tracking could cost much less than traditional ad trackers done via surveys. More detail is going to be published soon in the Harvard Business Review, and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not social media ad tracking will catch on in the coming years.

Another insight from the cases presented was that bloggers are feeling increasingly bombarded by brands. The examples by Jam’s Mel Kirk and 1000head’s Molly Flatt showed ways to approach bloggers who are feeling increasingly protective and sceptical. Mel Kirk offered an example of reaching the very top tech bloggers though Samsung ‘extreme unboxing’ campaign. This campaign tapped into the unboxing craze (tech geeks unboxing and reviewing the latest gadgets in front of a camera as soon as they get home from the shop), and offered bloggers an extreme experience they’d enjoy – giving the bloggers a chance to ‘unbox’ a Samsung phone in an extreme situation such as a rally car, a rollercoaster or whilst skydiving – with the experience being filmed from a camera attached to their helmets. However, Kirk highlighted that having built relationships with the bloggers over time was crucial – her team meets up with bloggers over a pint to discuss ideas before even presenting them to clients to know that the ideas are something that bloggers actually find relevant and interesting.

Molly Flatt from 1000heads showed us how Nokia teamed up with fashion bloggers to get into the conversations of a completely new type of audience – not the geeky tech freaks who were already discussing Nokia but the arty, mostly female crowd consisting of bloggers, fashionistas and photographers. The problem with reaching out to fashion bloggers – as is with mummy bloggers – is that they are targeted by every possible brand, all trying jump on the bandwagon and get some of trust and admiration that the bloggers inspire among their followers. Because of this, Molly’s team decided the most influential fashion bloggers were a no go, and decided to reach out to bloggers still on their way up. Teaming up with Elle, they set up a fashion journalism challenge, the winner of which would get to report for Elle from the New York Fashion Week. Through the campaign, Nokia actually became a part of their rise to the top and helped them gain followers – and hopefully turned these budding fashionistas into loyal Nokia fans who won’t forget that the brand helped them get where they are.

We’ll be posting daily round ups, raves and rants throughout the week, so do check back tomorrow for more insight into the big themes of the Social Media Week .

Targeting ads by moods


Negative moods alter the way we absorb information, making us engage in a more rational way with messaging.

At any particular moment in time, we are in a certain mental state that will affect how we absorb, remember and act upon the advertising we see, and although our mood is personal and often based upon specific individual circumstances at any given moment (why hasn’t she texted me yet, why only one kiss? what do you mean clingy?) it can be generally guessed at based upon the place and content that an ad fits in to – think of the stress in a crowded tube carriage in the morning or the excitement in a cinema lounge before an Aaron Sorkin movie.  Various recent research papers have started to shed light on how consumers’ moods affect their response to different types of advertising content.

A recent study, “The Effects of Positive Mood on Memory”, suggests that a positive mood enhances the learning of brand names by “prompting the classification of brands on the basis of their category membership, which then serves as an effective cue for brand name retrieval”. Another study, “Consumers’ mood states: Antecedents and consequences of experiential versus informational strategies for brand choice”, goes further suggesting that negative and positive moods directly affect how an ad is incorporated into our memory, suiting different types of ad content. A positive mood (and according to recent news reports, magic mushrooms) encourages us to absorb information in an experiential way, associating content with feelings and mood, while a negative mood encourages us to process ads in an informational way, weighing up a more rational input-output relationship to the proposition.

On the opposite end of the emotion spectrum, a research paper called “Fear and Loving in Las Vegas: Evolution, Emotion, and Persuasion” suggests that targeting content that induces fear (scary movies or, personally, movies with Cher) will help products that are trying to make social claims, but harm those that encourage an individual to stand out, when the content has unconsciously encouraged them to seek the safety of the group. Conversely, targeting romantic desire works best for products that suggest they help you stand out as, when aroused, people unconsciously want to be noticed as different and better in order to attract a mate.


When people are stressed out, they are more likely to give in to temptation.

One area that has been researched more thoroughly is the effect of stress on reducing cognitive resources. Stress reduces the part of the brain that normally controls emotional urges. This means when stressed or mentally occupied we are more likely to give into temptation (and possibly take on board emotional messaging), as we can’t control our emotional impulses. This suggests for example that although positive analysis suggests chocolate advertising would suit positive moods, when our minds are absorbing content in an experiential manner, it may also be beneficial to target stressed consumers when there is an opportunity for purchase, such as on trains and in shopping centres.

In addition to our moods, there are other factors that can affect our memory and level of persuasion. These range from the time of day affecting ad recall, with adverts shown in the morning scoring higher on memory encoding, recall, comprehension, attention, and liking due to people having higher cortisol levels upon waking, to the strong relationship between caffeine consumption and persuasion, with those who have higher caffeine blood levels, appearing more open to persuasion than those who don’t.

As yet there is limited data on the numerical benefit of ad content targeted by mood, compared to factors such as cost, reach and frequency, on which we have plenty of data. However, it appears to be an area of growing importance, with the development of outdoor ‘gladvertising’ (digital outdoor adverts that react to consumers’ moods by using emotion recognition software) and the emerging opportunities to use social media to target people by mood.