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Generating value from social data in real-time, Dara Nasr from Twitter

These notes are from the adtech London exhibition in September 2013. Apologies for any brevity, grammar or spelling mistakes, I did the best I could! Here is a full list of all my presentation notes from adTech London 2013.

How the Jay-Z hashtags are linked by Dara Nasr from Twitter
How the Jay-Z hashtags are linked by Dara Nasr from Twitter

Dara Nasr is the Head of Agency Sales at Twitter, and had an arsenal of amusing, anecdotal case studies about brands on Twitter.

His opening slide was “Twitter: the real time pulse of the planet

Case studies:

  • @policiajun – 3,000 inhabitants in a town in aim. All civil communication handled by twitter
  • “Other companies preach mobile first…” 80% of access to twitter is via mobile, and mobile was truly before the web for Twitter
  • It took 3 years to serve a billion tweets. They now serve a billion tweets every 2 days

Successful Twitter users and brands:

  • Plan for everyday moments. He showed the use of everyday keywords such as shopping, which are cyclical around the days of the week. Time your tweets to coincide with everyday activities.
  • Plan for live moments. E.g. There were 6m tweets around the champions league final.  Nokia’s imitation is the form of flattery was retweeted 18m times when the new iPhone 5 was launched (and I retweeted their tweet because I thought it was funny). Successful brands and users have playful banter between competitors, which ends up successful for both. This ranges from political parties and politicians to CPG brands to sports personalities
  • Plan connected moments… Twitter and TV. Twitter bought Bluefin who connect Twitter to TV adverts. Twitter claim 60% of people use Twitter while watching TV. Dara went through a case study on Jay-Z boosting music sales
  • MTV ran a competition with [a staggering] 166m entries

Answers to questions from the audience:

  1. The brands who use Twitter well try and try again to get it right. Key companies are Samsung, Mondelēz, Paddy Power. They make mistakes, learn from them, and end up with successful campaigns
  2. On commercialisation: There are 3 ways Twitter makes money: from promoted tweets, promoted accounts and prompted trends, i.e. pushing results higher up on all 3 listings
  3. On commercialisation after a potential IPO: Twitter might not change that much because it’s very user focussed, and doesn’t want to do anything users don’t want.

Here is a full list of my presentation notes.

Hugh Jackson, director of MediaCo on Venice and Panda

Almost to reconfirm how I described how the first morning at ad:tech had been full of

It's a sobering thought that on some searches the 3rd result is below the fold!
It’s a sobering thought that on some searches the 3rd result is below the fold!

practical tips and advice, Hugh Jackson from MediaCo, an SEO company, gave a good, practical presentation on two of the latest Google algorithm changes and how to take advantage of them, despite all the bad press they’ve received.

The two algorithm changes are Panda and Venice.

Venice

Results are now based upon the local results of where the user is located. (My Note: Actually, they’ve always been local, so if you searched for ‘Spurs’ in the UK you’d end up with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and if you searched for Spurs in the US you’d see the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. Now, results are localise for everything, down to a far more granular level).

So if you type in say, tyre dealer, you’ll get very different results if you’re based in New York, London or Manchester.

This is the only way results are ranked organically (i.e. not paying for an ad in the results) for generic terms.

To take advantage of Venice, you need to create truly unique content for your user’s locations. National companies without local offices are at a disadvantage.

The SEO strategy to take advantage of Venice is to create landing pages and change the site structure to reflect localised pages. The example Hugh gave is Autotrader, which now has regions, and then local cities where car results are displayed for that local city or region.

The tried and tested SEO technique for Titles and Descriptions has been slightly updated, so you should now use:

Title + location + brand

for AutoTrader, the example given was:

Find used cars in Manchester – used cars | Autotrader

Also, inbound links should ideally include the location in the anchor text, although Hugh pointed out that Google sometimes perform U-turns on best practice for inbound links.

Other techniques to improve natural results include having local reviews, directions to the location, a local address for the business, and a local phone number. These are recommendations though, not necessities.

Finally, put your local addresses in the site schema.

Panda

It's [almost] always about content, content, content...
It’s [almost] always about content, content, content…
Panda uses real world, human user data to verify the quality of sites. So a site that simply provides links to other sites, and users spend a very short period of time browsing, will be hit hard by Panda. This real user data comes from Google +, Chrome usage stats and toolbars.

Use google.com/trends and adwords.google.co.uk/keywordplanner to help with your SEO terms.

You can now have a page with little text, perhaps just a couple of sentences, followed by a video, and this may perform well. The reason is that users will stay on the page (watching the video), and this gets fed back to Google, who then interpret this as a sign of a real user finding the page interesting. This is very different to previous SEO techniques where keywords were the most important SEO consideration.

To create inbound links, Hugh recommended that you create Infographics and distribute these to other websites, making sure you have credit for the work, through good quality anchor text.

It’s important to ‘announce’ new content by promoting it on social networks – Twitter, Google+ and Facebook for example. This builds authority and will help develop you as a thought leader and people will link to your page.

Another good technique, which Google has been vocal about, is to attribute content to a particular person by linking to their Google + page.

And finally, it’s a sobering thought that on some search results such as ‘Manchester United’, the 3rd result is already below the fold!

The real value

Of course, Panda and Venice are details. The main reason why natural searches are still so important is because when a user performs a search on Google (or Bing, or any other search engine) and arrives at your website, the chances are that you have a genuinely and fully qualified lead!

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Singley & Mackie’s 3 step plan for social media engagement

Keith Pape is SVP Social Engagement at Singley & Mackie and provided some practical advice for brands working in social media.

Social equalises big brands with smaller businesses. It’s a pretty even playing field

Everyone can tell a story in a different way. The top 10 most engaged brands span several industries from supermarkets to travel agents to drinks companies

Too many clients don’t understand the business, not the social, goal of a project

Their recommendation is three phases:

Grow, engage, convert. It’s vital to measure and refine at every stage.

Grow = content. Keep measuring

Engage = talk (customer service & sales/ marketing). Keep measuring

Convert = sell. Keep measuring

During the Q & A he pointed out that people don’t visit your timeline, so your content on twitter and Facebook needs to stand out from the rest of the content. Assume only 15% of your followers see each of your tweets.

Use link trackers such as bit.ly to measure click though rates.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Mark Read, CEO WPP Digital on WPP’s digital future

WPP expect digital revenues to increase at the expense of print
WPP expect digital revenues to increase at the expense of print

This was the first keynote speech of ad:tech London. Here are my brief notes:

A key focus for WPP at the moment is China and the Internet

WPP has more staff in China than in the UK

Digital ad spend will grow from 95bn today to 180bn in 2018, at which point digital will exceed traditional ad spending

Digital will take revenue from print and other channels, not from TV. In fact, TV ad revenue may still grow very slightly to 2018

WPP will be concentrating on this [shopping] list for the next 5 years
WPP will be concentrating on this [shopping] list for the next 5 years
Key trends from Mark:

      1. Mobile. Its beyond advertising. Mobile is a CRM tool rather than another channel for banner ads. E.g. the British Airways app provides branding on a phone, alerts and transactions
      2. E-commerce will become ever more important. The uk is already the second biggest market for ecommerce to South Korea. The question is how to handle Amazon
      3. Data driven. Every website you visit will leave a digital footprint. The question is how to join these footprints and cookies together into one story, or a single customer view.
      4. Social. Many WPP clients see Facebook equals mobile. Mobile usage = Facebook usage. The top mobile apps are Facebook and YouTube (each with over 1 billion installs), followed by WeChat (in China), Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn.
      5. YouTube. 1 billion users consumer over 6 billion hours of content per month. That’s 6 hours per month per person. Video equipment on the high street at affordable prices, not just for professionals. Brands are joining in by supporting user generated content with product placement (e.g. Ford supplying vehicles for travellers).
      6. The Gatekeepers of the internet. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft each have hundreds of millions, and some have billions of users. Working with them, or having a strategy of working alongside them, is key.
WPP feel technology is central to their clients' digital strategy
WPP said that technology is central to their clients’ digital strategy

In the next 5 years digital will account for around 45% of WPP revenue, it’s currently in the mid-30s.

WPP have bought ecommerce provider Salmon who produce the sites for Argos and DFS.

WPP doesn’t want to be a an ad agency. It wants to become a full marketing implementation agency in the next 5 years, competing with the likes of Accenture and Deloitte Digital.

The summary was this:

Ideas + Technology = great digital marketing

You need strength in both areas.

And I couldn’t agree more.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Evian’s Wimbledon Wiggle by We are social

This is the sixth year of Evian sponsoring Wimbledon

We are social found that people we already using the live young tag line in tweets without any prompting

Out of office brainstorming session led to an idea that wasn’t received well by the client. Back to the drawing board…

Wimbledon wiggle came from how the server in a tennis game does a quick ‘wiggle’ before serving. Its obvious and recognisable.

They commissioned some music and created this video:

There was a low barrier to entry for the wiggle.

They created a Facebook app for users to upload their video. Then celebrities including Jonathan Ross joined in. Then Sharapova, who was already an Evian brand ambassador, wiggled.

The best wiggles were shown on outdoor public screens.

80,000 people interacted with Evian, with a 90 million reach

Evian achieved almost 75% share of voice for Wimbledon last year despite having a lower budget than other sponsors such as HSBC and Rolex.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

ad:tech London 2013 conference

ad:tech London
ad:tech London at Olympia

I’m at ad:tech London for the next couple of days. It’s an industry exhibition in Olympia focussed on digital marketing. I’ve found this to be one of the better exhibitions – based on quality of the presentations.

There were several programme tracks to choose from this year and when I selected the ones I was interested in, there were several clashes, which demonstrates the quality of the presentations.

I found there weren’t as many client case studies as usual, which is usually a warning sign of agency sales pitches approaching, however it hasn’t been like this at all, and the agencies have been open to sharing their best practices and leaving sales pitches on their stands. I think this shows some maturity in the industry.

Here are some of the presentations I’ve been to. Apologies for brevity and any spelling/ grammatical errors. I’m trying to post these as quickly as possible. And finally, I’ll add more links as I go to more presentations.

If you’re visiting ad:tech, drop me a line or a tweet and let’s see if we can meet up.

Day 1

Day 2

The value of Amazon’s cloud for consumers

Madonna MusicThis morning I received an email from Amazon to say “Albums you have previously purchased on CD from Amazon are now available in Cloud Player for FREE”.

It’s always a nice surprise to receive something for free, and when I logged on to the Amazon Cloud Player, yes indeed the CDs I’d bought from Amazon in the last few years were all on there.

Half of all the CDs I’d bought from Amazon were gifts for other people. This reminded me of the nightmare I’ve had in the past with registering my children’s iPod Touch devices, and setting up iTunes for them. Or our ‘family’ Spotify account. Or just buying MP3s for my kids.

All of these purchases for other people are against the terms and conditions of use. I haven’t found a legitimate method of buying music for my kids like the old physical CD method. Perversely it’s easier to download music from BitTorrent for other people than legitimate methods. However, I’m completely against music piracy and feel that it’s morally correct to buy MP3s from iTunes, Spotify or Amazon and then give access to my kids.

Amazon has just brought this debate back to life where all the CD gifts for others I’ve bought in the past are now available for me to listen to via MP3s.

The next step will be for Amazon to offer the same service for videos and DVDs. If you bought a DVD film a while ago, you should be able to watch it over the Internet.

There are systems in place such as Ultraviolet which enable users to watch a film irrespective of the original purchase media. So if you bought a DVD or Blu-ray or Internet file for a specific film, you can watch it on the other media for no additional charge.

This is exactly the type of advantages that consumers want to see from cloud services. In fact, consumers don’t want to know about cloud any more than RAID storage, they just want life made easier, and with additional value thrown in as part of the package.

Mobile first? Don’t believe the hype


Designing websites has never been as difficult as it is at the moment, and it’s only going to get harder.

Think about this for a moment – people born since about the year 2000 are unlikely to have ever walked into a travel agent or mobile phone shop. They’re unlikely to have been inside a bank more than a couple of times in their lives. Couple this with more than 10% of the UK still haven’t used the Internet.

In Q2 2013, AOL earned a staggering $166m from dial up modems. It’s fair to take a decent chunk of that revenue and claim it’s from ‘forgotten direct debits’ (now here’s an irony: a quick search for forgotten direct debits produces some interesting reading from AOL which claims over 2.5m Britons are paying for services they no longer need!).

So we have this strange anomaly where the Internet is being used by teenagers who have grown up using web browsers before they could read and over 75 year olds who are just starting to use the Internet for the first time.

And then they’re the range of screens: from a small Blackberry screen to iOS and Android (my S4 feels closer in size to an iPad Mini than an iPhone) to tablets. These screens demand large contact areas for fingers to select rather than small target areas easy to access with a mouse. Then on to desktops, which have a wider array of sizes than ever before. At work I use a square monitor with a relatively small resolution but when I work from home I have a large widescreen monitor where some sites look really nice and some look like a size zero.

Responsive design isn’t always the answer. I spend time battling against the marketing wave which convinces clients into believing every website needs to be responsive, to fit large and small browsers, touchscreen and mouse driven.

But responsive isn’t the only option. Fire up the BBC website on a smartphone and you’ll see the mobile site which is a quicker and easier to use than a responsive design. And it really comes into its own when you have a weak signal and want the latest cricket or football scores. A responsive design would be slower to download and use than the excellent mobile site. For high traffic websites it also reduces the cost of bandwidth delivery.

As well as fighting the responsive design marketing wave, I’m also swimming against the tide with mobile first initiatives. Yes mobile is increasing, however there are still very significant numbers of users using desktops. And what happens when wearable technology takes off? Or if TV apps really become mainstream?

The answer to many of these questions is to make sure that any digital platform has a complete API to support all these output devices. This can help multiple teams develop user interfaces in parallel. It also helps store the ‘state’ where users switch devices.

The best in class example of this is Facebook. Open the Facebook app on your phone and you’ll see the number of notifications in your activity feed. Click on some of them. Then look at Facebook on a desktop and you’ll see the new number of notifications. It’s the way it should be, but still so many sites struggle with these concepts.

So while it’s currently the hardest it’s ever been to design user interfaces, there are some great examples out there of how to do this properly, just don’t get too sucked into all the marketing hype.

Google Chromecast: This Puppy Changes Everything

This puppy changes everything
This puppy changes everything

In a technology trends report that I produced earlier this week I included a slide called “This Puppy Changes Everything” next to a picture of Chromecast, the USB dongle designed by Google which plugs into TVs and makes it really simple to watch web TV on a TV. Hours later, Iolo Jones also released a blog post called “This Changes Everything”.

My nephew has just competed in the Maccabia games. The opening ceremony was streamed live using a proprietary Flash player, so our family and extended family sat around a computer monitor in our house. 10 metres from the computer is our 40-something inch TV (with a comfortable sofa instead of chairs!), but hooking the computer up to the TV is a nightmare.

Chromecast changes all this. It will stream content from any iOS, Android or computer on your home network. There are apps for Netflix and YouTube, but the most powerful function is to duplicate your web browser (well, as long as it’s Chrome) on any device, on to the TV.

And Chromecast is a one off cost of $35 (less than £25). One of the reasons it is so cheap is that no remote control is required – the unit is controlled using your smartphone or computer.

Chromecast is a game changer because using a web browser is by far the most flexible and easiest interface available. Why would you subscribe to a premium TV channel if content is available on the web for a cheaper price?

Concentrating on legal content for a moment, monthly web subscriptions to say, sports content, is cheaper than equivalent TV subscriptions. When you include illegal content as well (I’m including YouTube here) makes it the game changer.

This is the most disruptive piece of hardware I’ve seen in the media industry since Sky+.

Automatic check-in to Facebook using facial recognition

If you liked the post back in February 2011 describing the Coca Cola village integration with Facebook, you’ll love this video of Facedeals, using automatic facial recognition to check-in to places.

Check-In with Your Face from redpepper on Vimeo.