In many ways, I think this was the week that marked a shift in the social media industry in the UK. We’ve had the excitement of Social Media Week London and I’ve been judging of The Drum’s Social Buzz awards, looking at the best work produced this year by some of the country’s top agencies.
All this week at Adobe we’ve also been monitoring every conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #SMWLDN, in order to see what everyone has been talking about. After looking at the data and reflecting on everything that’s been discussed, we’ve noticed some pretty important trends…
In previous years, conversations across the social web during social media week have focused on just Twitter and Facebook, with a few nods to whatever shiny new platform seemed most exciting at the time. Almost all the case studies were Facebook campaigns, and topics such as ROI and buying fans seemed to dominate conversations.
Three things seem to have changed this year:
1. Brands are not focusing on one platform anymore
In previous years, the most successful campaigns focused on just one platform. This year, many of the most successful social brands that we’ve heard from have been running fully integrated campaigns across multiple platforms at the same time. More importantly, we are seeing a shift towards data driven content. Instead of pushing out content that a brand thinks will get good engagement (like in years past the past), brands are looking to data sources to discover what their audiences actually want to see — and on which platform.
2. Social media professionals have realised that you CAN measure ROI
…and by ROI we mean Return on Investment, not Return on Impressions, Influence or Interactions or any other marketing related term beginning with “I”. There were a few sighs when somebody said you can’t measure ROI and we should talk about ROR instead (Return on Relationship). That feisty debate was soon put to bed, partly thanks to the provocative (if slightly offensive blog) Thisisnotaninsight, which seemed to be responsible for many of the Tumblr mentions during the week.
3. Big digital agencies have not only caught up with “social media” agencies but in many cases are now doing a much better job.
Many large agencies have been working with digital and traditional media for a long time, so it was refreshing to see talk of metrics measuring advertising recall and brand preference alongside engagement metrics and sales figures. Measuring social media against traditional media such as TV and press is a huge step forward for our industry. The reason that this is such a big deal is because it feels like “social media” has evolved into “social business”. No longer pushing out content to an audience (like traditional media such as print or TV), social is now driving more two-way conversations that are being proven to add real value to a business.
This is an important shift because it highlights that the most successful brands are not working in silos anymore. They have started to see proof that social conversations have an impact upon the whole organisation and therefore teams are getting bigger and more departments are working together. Not only is it great to see marketing and non-marketing teams working together, but it shows a trend towards more brand budgets being re-allocated from TV and press into social media programs. Evidence of this is seen in our playful little info-graphic which clearly shows that Facebook hasn’t dominated our conversations at social media week London this week.
Looking into the data, Twitter only accounts for half of the mentions (54%) and Facebook a surprising 16% with just 1,066 mentions. The fact that Tumblr had more mentions than Facebook also highlights a trend we noticed back in December when “Tumblr” overtook “blog” as one of the most searched terms on Google. The growth of Instagram this year (now 140m active users) was also impressive with 673 mentions. We expected a bit more than 1.6% of the conversations to be about Vine since it feels like it’s been around for ever, but it’s worth remembering that Vine is still only 8 months old and has a passionate user base amongst its 40m users. It will be interesting to watch this battle develop over the next year, as we see more integrated campaigns and even higher mobile usage — with each platform fighting to prove its value within the marketing mix…
Social media is dead. Long live social business.
For more information about Adobe Social and other Marketing Cloud solutions visit http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/social.html