Whatever you are writing – be it a novel, a tweet, an article –  you can’t land your story without knowing your audience. But as marketers and communicators, how do we best align the right message to the right customer?

According to W2O Group’s Bob Pearson, that’s where the practice of Storytizing comes in. Storytizing, or audience architecture & segmentation, is rooted in using data and analytics to uncover not only what audience segments are saying about themselves, but also what their online behavior is saying about the types of stories that will have the most impact on them.

This was the topic of conversation last week as we hosted our first ever W2O Group GeekATea during Social Media Week London.

Fortnum & Mason’s afternoon tea

But first: what is a GeekATea, you may ask? As Annalise Coady, President of our agency Twist Mktg and head of our London office, noted as we kicked off the event, the name is a British nod to our annual GeekACue event we hold during SXSW in Austin, Texas where we celebrate our appreciation of both barbecue and digital communications. It was only fitting in London that we celebrate the tradition of Afternoon Tea as a backdrop to a lively discussion on this ever-important practice of audience architecture.

At this intimate afternoon tea at the renowned Fortnum and Mason, we were honored to have with us:

  • Will Hayward, CEO of JOE Media, biggest premium male-focused publisher in the UK, Board Member of Social Media Week London.
  • Bob Pearson, President of W2O Group and author of Storytizing
  • Lucas Galan, Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group

The session kicked off with an overview of trends in storytizing from Bob, and then segued into an introduction to JOE Media’s audience strategy from Will. Following, Lucas provided a deep dive into a case study of audience segmentation research conducted by W2O Group and Joe Media about a very specific and, as we learned, underestimated audience segment – the British male.

Will Hayward discussing JOE Media's audience strategy
Will Hayward discussing JOE Media’s audience strategy

Here’s a brief recap of the major takeaways:

Chapter 1: The new media outlet. New media outlets are built based on audience need, not advertisers’ need for reach. The editorial plan is based on the actual needs of the audience. In this sense, a “media outlet” is defined by customers – we decide what matters and where we spend our time. The good news: a brand site could become a media outlet in its own right… if it is authentic, dependable and it truly understands the audience’s needs.

Bob Pearson of W2O Group, discussing Storytizing
Bob Pearson of W2O Group, discussing Storytizing

Chapter 2Habits win. Media sites will succeed and fail as fast as bars and restaurants. Those who succeed will have built audiences that depend on the outlet as part of their daily ritual.

Chapter 3: Media planning will become AUDIENCE planning. Media planning of the past told us where our audience is, but not what content is going to have an impact on that audience. Micro-audience segmentation will lead to hundreds/thousands of segments to address.

Segmentation of the UK male audience, based on research by W2O Group and JOE Media
Segmentation of the UK male audience, based on research by W2O Group and JOE Media

Chapter 4: Segmenting your audience by analytics, not stereotypes, is the future. Audiences are complex and they do not want to be lumped into broad stereotypes. Our analysis of JOE Media’s audience showed that only 17% of men feel that UK media accurately represent the type of man they are.

Example of Starstuck segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Starstuck segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Londonites segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Londonites segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.

Chapter 5: Surveys vs. analytics. It’s not enough to ask people what they want. People tell you what you want to hear if you ask them, observe them and you will get to know what they really think. The power of these combined allows us to figure out how to most effectively activate specific audience segments.

Chapter 6: Be new school. The value of traditional journalism is huge but the economics is no longer there. Operate under the mentality that everything you are doing is “old school” and always be seeking the “new school.” Will Hayward says at JOE Media, they take the best of old school journalism and bring it into the future (stay tuned for a major announcement from JOE Media that illustrates this concept in the upcoming days!).



Social and digital data predict trends the surveys can miss

If you’re like most companies, you’re using some form of traditional, survey-based market research or brand tracking in order to inform both your marketing and broader business strategies. But what if we told you that surveys alone aren’t all that accurate for some consumer demographics? And that those are the demographics that tend to be most sought-after?

Over the last few years, several members of our analytics team have been focused on predictive analytics. How do we help our clients better predict business results and market trends, so they have the information they need to make sound business decisions?

What we’ve found is that social and digital data provide meaningful signals into market trends that surveys sometimes miss.  When we add digital and social data to more traditional models, our forecasts are generally 25-40% better, and we’re able to predict business outcomes for our customers with at or above 90% accuracy. Even more interesting, digital and social data is often more predictive of behavior than self-reported interest and intent for younger audiences, including Millennials.


Why are social and digital metrics so powerful?

There are a couple reasons this could be the case. First, there could be a spontaneity effect at play. We were dealing with a relatively low-consideration purchase, and younger people tend to have more flexibility with both their time and their finances when compared to older adults, who tend to have more commitments like young children.

The second effect we could be seeing is a social desirability one. We know that younger people are more susceptible to saying they’ll do things they don’t actually plan to do in order to be seen as ‘cool’ or otherwise on-trend. For instance, research has shown that millennials say they prefer chocolate brands with ethical sourcing in focus groups, but actually chose brands based on high-fat content and a relatively small number of pronounceable ingredients*.

To determine which of these was responsible for our results, we decided to take spontaneity out of the equation by looking at a high-consideration purchase: automobiles.

What we found is that for high-priced vehicles, we saw the same general trend as we did for our low-consideration purchase: self-reported intent was a better predictor than digital and social metrics for older audiences, whereas digital and social data better predicted purchases for younger groups. However for low-priced vehicles, we saw the opposite trend. Younger audiences’ tendency to report they were going to purchase a low-priced vehicles was a better predictor of their behavior, but for older audiences, digital and social metrics were a much better indicator.

What does this mean? The >35 crowd is find with saying they’re going to buy a BMW, but if they’re planning to buy a Kia, they’re less likely to tell you about it. This suggests not only that social desirability affects the predictive value of a survey, but also that any demographic group can fall victim to the bias.

What kinds of social and digital data matter?

While most marketers look at conversational metrics to calculate share of voice or get at voice of the consumer, it’s actually behavioral metrics that add the most predictive value. It’s the relatively anonymous nature of things like YouTube video views, website visits, and search that provides us a glimpse into what people are really interested in, especially when that thing is not particularly “cool.”

Social desirability still plays a role when you’re posting on Facebook to a group of 1,700 of your closest friends, but not when you’re one of the nearly 15 million people watching “A Goldmine of Blackhead & Whitehead Extractions” on YouTube at 1 am.

Insights in an echo chamber

Companies who rely solely on survey data run the risk of making critical decisions in an echo chamber. Consider a brand developing a new product.  They put a survey in the field to understand which consumer segments may be interested in a premium product like theirs, and find that it’s more established consumers—those over 45—who show the highest definite interest and intent to purchase.  They rely on this insight as they develop their creative and select their marketing placement, heavily investing in primetime television and less on digital channels.

The problem with this scenario is that the survey didn’t capture the whole picture. There is a group of millennials—affluent, urban, 25-34—who are interested in the product, but don’t say so because it’s not particularly environmentally-friendly. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the younger audience didn’t say they were interested, so the brand didn’t effectively market to them, and, as a result, that high-value audience didn’t buy the product.

The brand looks at their purchase data, relieved that their insight was ‘proven,’ but they actually missed out on a large pool of potential revenue as well as an audience that could carry their business into the future.


Market research moving forward

We no longer live in a world where survey research is the best predictor of consumer behavior. Given our ability to overcome the limitations of traditional market research by bringing in new metrics, it’s irresponsible for brands not to leverage social and digital data in brand tracking and forecasting.

We’re so excited that our work was presented at Esomar’s 2016 Congress, because it shows that the broader Market Research community is coming around to the idea of fusing traditional metrics with digital and social signals, as well.


Seth Duncan and Kelley Sternhagen

*Young & McCoy (2015).


Kelley Sternhagen has delivered consumer insights for clients across verticals, including healthcare, tech, retail and consumer packaged goods. A range of skills from predictive analytics to consumer segmentation and planning allow her to deliver critical insights to brands to optimize their content, targeting and media mix.

Kelley began her research career as an undergraduate at Princeton University. Prior to joining W2O Group, she worked as a product marketer at Google and was an on-site analyst for Nike.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and gender studies from Princeton University

Connect with her on LinkedIn or say hi to her on Twitter at @ksternhagen.


All social media platforms serve as a tool for storytelling.

Whether users are telling the stories of various humans of New York, sharing the story of their weekend through a series of 10-second photos, or capturing the perfect meal through the proper filter, all social networks empower users to publish their lives or the lives of others.

Twitter is no exception to this rule. However, the platform has always been unique in comparison to its competitors:  Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Perhaps Twitter’s most defining differentiator is its less visual platform, specifically compared to Snapchat and Instagram. Even so, Twitter is still competing (and generally winning) in the social media space. The question is… how?

What Makes Twitter Work?

Twitter has an ace in the hole:  it is the undisputed platform of choice for live events and iconic pop culture moments. From the 2016 presidential election to social justice movements to sporting events, people turn to Twitter for real time updates and to express their reactions and observe others’.

What is going in world news? Follow @CNN.

What is the score of the latest game? Follow @espn.

Who is the next big musician? Follow @allsongs.

How was your friend’s last day of work? Follow her account. (Don’t, though, because she is really MY friend.)

From the personal news of your friendship to global news, Twitter perfectly curates and delivers your content. Twitter has transformed into the modern day newspaper and that is why users love its platform.

Moon Landing





Kim K_TSwift Reaction

Additionally, the platform empowers users to create their own iconic moments for the world to celebrate, criticize, and join (e.x. #GIFOscars#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes#CareFreeBlackKids2k16).

Users are notified when people within their network are tweeting, retweeting or liking the same topic or trend– so even if a user is not privy to the conversation, they can join in without missing a beat.

Melania Trump Quotes

How Will Twitter Grow in the Future?

Twitter’s latest move toward growing their cash flow and number of users is broadcasting sports within the platform. Twitter recently signed its first broadcasting deal with the NFL, which will allow the company to stream 10 Thursday night football games this upcoming season.

And football is not the only sport Twitter is interested in:  last month the platform hosted live coverage of Wimbledon. Plus the social media company has signed deals with the MLB, NHL, NBA and Pac-12 Networks.

Livestreaming sports may address the two main barriers of the platform. First, creating a steady flow of revenue. Potential advertising for brands most likely will pique the interest of marketers, providing a constant, dependable flow of cash. Second, broadcasting sports may help grow the amount of people who use the platform. The games will be available for people to stream regardless of if they have a Twitter account. This provides access to those who may have never interacted with the platform the opportunity to become familiar with the social media network. If people would like to join the conversation where they are tuning in, Twitter is the most natural fit, which may lead to more people signing up.

Case Study: Olympics 2016

Over the past couple weeks, our analytics team took a look at Twitter presence of the five members of this year’s USA women’s gymnastics team. Below you will see the number of mentions each member accrued over the entirety of the artistic gymnastics competition (August 06, 2016 – August 11, 2016; August 14, 2016-August 16, 2016).



If this volume of mentions can be amassed with merely five athletes in the span of two weeks, Twitter may be on the verge of becoming an untouchable competitor in the social media space.

Even outside of the five gymnastics’ superstars, Twitter has been bustling during the Olympics.

  • Tweeters have empathized with parents of competitors.
  • They have created overnight memes such as #PhelpsFace.
  • They have shamelessly praised their favorite athletes.

Katie Ledecky

It is clear the platform succeeds during live events, regardless of whether the event is streaming within the platform or not. However, one can only imagine how much success the network could have if the events that people were speaking about actually live-streamed in their feeds.

The combination of creating a platform where users can share their thoughts in real time while never having to leave the app could be the reason that Twitter does not just survive, but thrives. Plus, it eliminates the pain points of cross screen marketing for marketers, which may also be a reason they pay big bucks in ad dollars.

If streaming sporting events serves as a lucrative vehicle to gain revenue and users, Twitter may continue to strike up additional partnerships with other live events outside of the sports market. For example, Twitter broke social media ground by live-streaming the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Twitter is thinking outside the box and launching into new spaces, and we are excited to continue to grow our clients through this platform.

Jon Carillo Headshot

Creative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs, follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!


Brad Snyder Headshot

Research assistance for this project was provided by MDigitalLife intern, Brad Snyder. Brad attends Tiffin University where he is a business major with a focus in marketing and a minor in international business. Connect with him on Linkedin and if you can tolerate Cleveland sports follow him on Twitter at @b_snyds!


The recent Zika infection of 14 people in a Florida community near Miami – the first case of U.S. transmission from local mosquitoes – has further raised fears that the U.S. will face a large domestic Zika outbreak. With increased news coverage on the domestically transmitted cases as well as the upcoming Olympic opening ceremonies on Friday, August 5th in Brazil, a country hit hard by Zika, there is likely to be a large amount of public discussion about the looming domestic Zika threat.

Studies have shown that physicians are one of the most trusted sources of online health information, so it is likely that patients will be turning to their physician to understand how concerned they should be about Zika and the steps they should take to avoid contracting the virus. But what are physicians saying about the Zika virus?

At W2O Group, we set out to answer that question by querying the MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem Database, the world’s first database to link physicians’ online content to their national physician identifier records, to gain insights into the networks, relationships, and social activities of online physicians.

A Brief Review of Physician Zika Conversation Timeline

Specifically addressing Zika social conversation, there have been over 51,000 posts from more than 4,700 unique physicians since January 11, 2014. U.S. physicians contributed over 29,000 posts from 2,700+ authors and Non-U.S. physicians contributed more than 22,000 posts from 2,000+ authors.

Zika Timeline With Callouts Dark

Physician Zika conversation grew rapidly on January 11th of this year when the first Zika case in the U.S. was reported in Houston, TX. A doctor led the charge with this news as Dr. Umair Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, shared the news via his personal twitter account as the news was released to the public. The Houston Chronicle quickly picked up the story (and included quotes from Dr. Hotez), followed by Sarah Begley’s piece in TIME and then similar pieces in nearly every other outlet. Conversation was driven higher on January 16th after Hawaiian officials announced the first baby born in the US with microcephaly linked to Zika and the CDC officially advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas where
Zika is spreading. Physician conversation continued to rise on
January 28, when Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, announced that “the virus was detected in the Americas, where it is now spreading explosively”. Conversation reached its current peak between February 1-3, when physicians posted over 3,300 times after the WHO declared the Zika virus and related links to possible birth defects an international public health emergency.

Watch Monthly Physician Conversation Evolve From 2014-2016 In The Interactive Map Below

ZikaGifAfter global physician conversation peaked with over 15,000 posts in February, conversation began to decline; US physicians maintained an average of 3,400 posts per month while ExUS Physicians contributed an average of 1,700 per month between March and July. U.S. Physicians did see a small uptick in conversation in April when the CDC confirmed the link between microcephaly and Zika. Additionally, there was a rise in conversation in July as the first case of US transmission was announced in Miami. We expect to see a significant spike in global conversation as we approach hurricane season in the U.S. and the Games kick off.

Conversation Over Time

Zika NGram Graph2

We tracked five different keywords throughout the course of the conversation to examine the evolution of the language used by physicians discussing Zika. During late 2015 and early 2016, a significant portion of the tweets contained some mention of “Brazil,” the origin of the outbreak. The volume of tweets mentioning the word “women” was proportional to the overall volume of the U.S. physician Zika conversation, underscoring the relevance of this conversation to women’s health. In April of 2016, tweets started emerging that contained the word “funding,” with many questioning the level of government funding to combat the growing outbreak. July saw the introduction of both “transmission” and “Florida” at a high rate, correlating with many reports examining the transmission of Zika and the rise of domestic cases in Florida.

Going Back to the Start

So who actually started the online physician conversation about Zika? The first post we recorded from a U.S. physician was by Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Founding Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital Chair in Tropical Pediatrics & President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, on August 3, 2013. Dr. Hotez’ initial post shared a study released in the Journal, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which discussed the emergence and spread of Zika in Africa and Asia. The initial post picked up a small amount of traction with four retweets. This did not cause a blip on Twitter’s radar. Though perhaps more people should have been paying attention, since Dr. Hotez proved to be rather prophetic with his post in March 2014 on Zika.

Conclusion and Acknowledgements

Our analysis demonstrates how the online physician conversation about Zika has grown over time, and evolved both geographically and linguistically. It is our hope that monitoring this conversation can be helpful to both physicians and the public at large in keeping abreast of the current issues being discussed in the ongoing Zika outbreak.

This post was co-authored by Dr. Yash Gad, Chief Data Scientist for MDigitalLife.

As a part of a larger research initiative and partnership, we thank our colleagues from the lab of Dr. Wenhong Chen at the University of Texas Austin who provided insight and expertise that contributed to this article.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Dr. Hotez first tweet on Zika was in January 2014.

Earlier this month I began to explore the correlation between Twitter analytics and Britain’s possible departure from the EU. Things are heating up in the Twitterendum, but not necessarily getting any clearer. The volume of tweets in the five weeks following our last post was effectively the same as the previous twenty combined. This represents an huge increase in the raw number of tweets, but also in unique contributors, meaning a lot more people are being drawn into the debate.


In spite of the increase in activity, the Twitterendum results remained remarkably static. The number of ‘stay’ unique accounts remained around 10% higher than their opposition whilst Brexiters continued to generate more per capita tweets than Bremainers, around 20% more content.


In the ‘leave’ camp, Burnley, Eastbourne and South Northamptonshire all doubled down on their positions. The number of ‘stay’ supporters increased dramatically in Woking and Manchester, however, though they are now more contested, both still generated a far greater number of ‘leave’ tweets.

Only one new joiner stood out – Oldham. Instead of making gains in key decisive swings of opinion, the Brexit camp found success in edging several smaller Local Authorities. Doncaster, Sunderland and Kingston upon Hull all moved from ‘undecided’ to ‘leave’.

Similarly, the ‘stay’ camp continued to reinforce its position in university towns and Labour strongholds. All ‘stay’ frontrunners from our last update increased their #StrongerIn scores.

London continued to be the centre of extremely heated debate with the total number of tweets only just favoring the stay camp. However, in terms of unique users it enjoyed one of the highest ratios of Bremainers: Brexiters in the entire country…perhaps unsurprisingly. The animation we’ve included shows London’s gradual movement from undecided firmly into the ‘stay’ camp, mobilizing more and more ‘stay’ supporters with each passing week.

The remaining most populous centers experienced very similar phenomena. Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds all recorded surges in the number of unique ‘stay’ supporters, while simultaneously recording disproportionate levels of ‘leave’ tweets.


From this, it seems like the race is rather contested… though the higher proportion of unique accounts means that the ‘remain’ camp is pulling slightly ahead. What will the results show on the eve of the vote? Will there be any correlation between Twitter trends and the final referendum results? Join us next week!

Lucas-Galan-headshotLucas Galan currently serves as the Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group’s London office. Connect with him on LinkedIn!


Similar to the rest of the country, we at W2O Group have been glued to our TVs, phones, tablets and laptops watching the NBA postseason.

Who could blame us? The theater and caliber of play throughout the past several weeks has been some of the best basketball that the league has seen in years. The series of games that preceded the finals captivated homes, cities and fans across the country, whether you were watching the underdog Toronto Raptors battle it out against King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers – or if you were engrossed watching the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder each give it 100% in a seven-game series. The NBA postseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

The Analytics Formula

As irresistible as we find the competition, we find the analytics surrounding the sport just as alluring.

Similar to our clients, we had preconceived notions of which fans would be the loudest  and in some respects were shocked by the story the analytics told us. The exclusivity our analytics provided us for this project exemplifies how we position our clients to dominate against the competition… just like the pros.

The focal point of our curiosity stemmed from which teams had the loudest fans during the regular season. Thanks to our amazing analytics team, we were able to take a deep dive into the data and discover which fans were making the most noise.

For this analysis, we defined the “loudest” fans based on how actively they engage with their teams on Twitter. Engagement was calculated as total retweets plus favorites of content posted by each NBA team. Additionally we accounted for the following metrics:

  • City population (market size)
  • TV households in market area
  • Number of tweets posted from each team’s offical Twitter handle during the regular season

The Results: The Loudest

This approach identified the following teams as having the loudest fans on Twitter: the Warriors, the Spurs and the Thunder.

(We cannot say we are surprised that the Warriors were included in the top three. There is no doubt that our CEO Jim Weiss and our San Francisco headquarters’ team members have contributed heavily to the conversation.)

Based off of our analytical approach, the Spurs had the highest engagement rate per potential fan, making them the loudest Twitter fan base in the NBA with a “noise” index of 100. The Thunder rank second with a noise index of 70 with approximately 1.44% of total fan engagements in the regular season vs. Spurs. Finally, the Warriors rank third with a noise index of 55.2 with approximately 1.28% of total fan engagement in the regular season.

W2O_LoudestNBATeams_1024x512 (1)

Below are the top 10 loudest fan bases on Twitter in the NBA.


It is key to take into account outside factors such as number of cumulative tweets posted and city population. Although raw numbers are helpful, often times, they do not tell the complete story. If we only based engagement levels off of the raw data, retweets and favorites, the Warriors would have the loudest fans, followed by the Spurs, and the Thunder would round out the list.


However, our team understands the need to level the playing field when discussing pro teams. Some market sizes are larger than others (i.e. San Francisco) and some teams are not as active as others on Twitter. Note the Chicago Bulls sent 2,767 tweets during the regular season vs. the Warriors who sent 8,031. All of this context affects the bigger picture. Numbers always tell a story; we are lucky to have an amazing group of authors in our analytics team.

The Results:  The Most Appreciative Fans

We also wanted to know which teams’ fans engaged the most with tweets from the team’s official Twitter account following a win. Based on engagement rate per win, the following teams have the “most appreciative fans” in the NBA:

1. San Antonio Spurs

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 84

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 71.2%

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 69%

4. Sacramento Kings

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 66.7%

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 49.1%

It is easy surmise why the Spurs, Thunder, Kings and Bucks had appreciative fans throughout the regular season. The Spurs and Thunder were both top contenders throughout the playoffs. The Thunder going seven games against the reigning league champs, the Warriors. The Kings had a great season with new talent on its roster, and the Bucks handed the Warriors its first loss of the season. However, the Philadelphia 76ers had an embarrassing season, winning only 10 games out of 82. They nearly set a record for least amount of games won in a season, only narrowly escaping that fate by winning more games than the 1973 76ers who went 9-73.

Whether it was relief, sarcasm or praise, Philly’s fans made some serious noise on Twitter on the rare occasion the 76ers were able to deliver a win.

76ers Fan

The Results:  The Least Appreciative Fans

Reversely, the following teams’ fans had the lowest engagement rate per tweet following a win, deeming them the “least appreciative fans” of the NBA:

1. Brooklyn Nets

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 3.9%

2. New York Knicks

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 6.3%

3. Orlando Magic

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 7.6%

4. Los Angeles Clippers

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 9.1%

5. Boston Celtics

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 12.6%

Perhaps it is easy to recognize why the Nets’ fans are least appreciative: the franchise only won a pitiful 21 games out of 82. However, the Clippers had a fantastic season, winning well over 50 percent of its games, yet its fans did not seem too impressed on Twitter. Even when the Clippers play excellent basketball, its fans do not have much to say about it via Twitter.

Looking Forward

As the NBA prepares to wrap up its 70th season, we enjoyed looking back on the highs and lows of the season through the lens of analytics.

W2O always appreciates the incredible power our analytics can provide and the stories they are able to tell us, whether it is for our clients or our own passion projects. Our suspicions might be confirmed or we might be surprised, but we are always informed and empowered to create a strategy that places our clients in a position to succeed. Have any questions about our analytics? Contact Us

Jon Carillo HeadshotCreative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!

If tweets were referendum votes then, come June 23rd, the UK would be departing the EU. Looking at the period beginning early 2016, spanning the official launch of both the ‘Brexit’ and ‘Bremain’ campaigns, and culminating in the London mayoral election, it is clear that the latter, #StrongerIn Bremain campaign enjoys a small but significant lead in the number of unique accounts pledging support. However, it is the Brexiters that appear more ardent in their beliefs and more vocal in their call to arms, tweeting roughly twice as much as their Bremain counterparts.

To try to gain a greater understanding of the distribution of Brexiters and Bremainers throughout the UK, the socioeconomic context in which they exist and the correlation (if any) between Twitter activity and actual referendum outcomes, we have created a model that combines the absolute number of tweets, the number of unique accounts and the total populations for each local authority district (LAD).

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 16.48.28

LADs known to have concerns regarding high levels of immigration and demonstrating above average support for UKIP, the country’s Eurosceptic and right-wing populist party, were (somewhat predictably) Brexit strongholds. Burnley, Eastbourne, Hartlepool and Bournemouth all ranked highly in Brexit ratios and all fit this profile. However, UKIP voting alone was not a definitive predictor of Brexit performance.

Clacton, Boston, Thurrock and Rotherham all recorded high levels of UKIP support in the 2015 election but do not appear at the forefront of the Brexit campaign as fewer residents utilise Twitter and those that do tweet with low frequency.

Brexiters also tended to lean Conservative and showed strength in traditionally Conservative strongholds such as Woking (one of the safest Tory seats in the country), Northamptonshire South and West Dorset. The results for Manchester, however, ran counter to this idea of traditionally more conservative populations favouring a departure from the EU. An ultra-safe Labour seat and beacon of multiculturalism, its inhabitants had relatively more unique Twitter accounts and total numbers of tweets in favour of the Brexit campaign – though, admittedly, the number of the Bremain accounts was also high.

The #StrongerIn camp was, in general, more predictable, led by university towns with a strong base of Labour support (Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff and Exeter were frontrunners). Scottish urban centres also leaned in this direction. Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous cities, showed a predominance of support for the remain campaign by unique Twitter account numbers but almost even number of tweets for both camps.


These results come from a preliminary analysis of the data and it may be that as the volume of referendum-related Twitter content increases in the approach to June 23rd, so the results shift. Of the top seven most populated places in the country, only one – Manchester – sits definitively in either camp. The other six remain undecided but with strong showings from each camp. It is in these large urban centers where the Twitterendum will be most intense, and we expect this to be highly contested in the coming weeks.

Gif 6



Of course, tweets are not votes. Twitter users do not reflect the UK population as a whole. Twitter users account for roughly a quarter of the population (23%) and tend to skew young and urban. Perhaps most pertinently, Twitter may be less representative of the British because of something inherent to Britishness. Twitter is very much a public soap box and, for a nation so often aligned with a strong sense of propriety, it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

So, while the Twitterendum results should not be used as an analogue to real voting attitudes, these observations can still provide an interesting barometer through which to measure the winds of sentiment sweeping the nation. As the debate heats up in the coming weeks and traditional media becomes saturated, we’ll continue to turn to this model to see what further insights we can glean, so please join us for regular updates of our Twittterendum coverage!

Lucas Galan headshot

Lucas Galan currently serves as the Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group’s London office. Connect with him on LinkedIn!

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At W2O Group, proprietary analytics power everything we do, so we decided, “Why not use our analytics to see who is dominating socially going into the Final Four of March Madness?” We live and breathe for the targeting our analytics can provide for our clients in order to set them up for success. Plus it is pretty interesting to see who is in the “double bonus” when it comes to share of conversation.

First, we wanted to pull analytics to highlight the social engagement of the teams that reached the Elite 8. Take a look at not only Syracuse University’s domination, but also a nice ongoing climb that the University of North Carolina has. (I have to wonder if W2O Group’s alignment with Syracuse’s Center for Social Commerce is helping the Orange’s efforts of practicing what we preach for social media while holding back my Tar Heels.)

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Next we wanted to look at which team was producing the “loudest” fans in terms of social engagement. Louisville should be happy with the results from the Yum! Center.


Each year millions of fans tune in on their TV, laptops, tablets and smartphones to cheer on their alma mater, their hometown team or to watch a low-seeded Cinderella team defy the odds and beat a well-known number one seed. Whether it is at work, in a lecture hall or at home, Americans have an obsession with tuning in for every game – and now sharing their point of view, battle cries, chants, smack, photos, highs and lows. And the fact that the game will be live-streamed in virtual reality makes us geek out even more, salivating at all the data and social shares to come out of this tech milestone.

Last year, the tournament averaged 11.3 million viewers — the highest viewership in 22 years. Thanks to second-screen conversations adding to the story and increased social engagement, fans are helping tell the team’s story. They’re part of the team. The schools need to see the value in being storytized, because there are so many stories to tell.

Before the start of the tournament this year, CBS compiled a list of the odds of the top 25 teams winning the national championship. Out of the top five teams included on the list only one remains in the Final Four, the University of North Carolina.

Odds graphic

This year is far from an anomaly. Perhaps the reason March Madness is so popular is the tension of expectation versus reality. You expect a #4 seed to clobber a #13 seed, but suddenly the opposite happens. You are nearly 100% sure that #1 seed is destined to be the national champion, and suddenly they are out in the second round. Consistently during four weeks in early spring, the nation is stunned, and history has proven this:

There is no predicting March Madness. You can only sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. In many ways, March Madness goes hand in hand with our passion and fascination for the predictive nature of analytics. But sometimes, like our clients, we are amazed at what the data actually shows us – often throwing a wrench into our client’s perception of their Goliath.

The only predictive constant that March Madness possesses is that data, probability and statistical analysis mean nothing. Is it helpful to know a team’s ranking coming into the tournament? Sure. Is it wise to predict the outcome based off these rankings? Not necessarily. March Madness is the one time of year that analytics do not make sense to us fans and oddly enough we are ok with that. We know it will pass and after the tournament concludes, order will be restored. Part of the fun of March Madness is that anything can happen and that is what keeps us all watching.

Our PreCommerce Summit started off our events with a bang. Hard to believe, but 2016 marks the 6th annual version of the summit. We built it around a series of 10-minute Ted-style talks, and rounded it out with a few panel discussions and a couple of fireside chats.

These discussions featured insights from executives and leadership from some of our top clients and partners. It’s a view into what’s next, the technology that’s impacting all of us, how its changing business, as well as other aspects of our lives outside of work.

  • Lord Peter Chadlington, Founder of Shandwick and Huntsworth Group; See Lord Chadington’s preview interview here.
    Lord Peter Chadington discussed global communications trends with our own Bob Pearson. In terms of global trends, Peter pointed out that 50% of the world’s population have just started getting access to the Internet.  Lord Chadlington is someone who’s dedicated much of his work to politics and shared his thoughts on the impact that social media is having on politics. According to research they did in the UK, 72% said social media and the Internet made them more involved in politics. They feel empowered. You can watch Bob’s interview with Lord Chadlington at about 33:15 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.


  • Amy von Walter, EVP Global Communications and Public Relations, Toys ‘R’ Us
    During Aaron’s introduction, he shared the news that Amy is now EVP at Toys ‘R’ Us. Amy gave a powerful talk about first impressions. She’s passionate about encouraging confidence in her employees. It’s an extension of her confidence which comes from her experiences overcoming first impressions.  And she’s an expert there, based on her reality of being from South Korea and raised in Minnesota by her adopted parents. She referenced the work of Dr. Hendrie Weisenger’s about the many ways you can build confidence. You can watch Amy’s session at 58:04 in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Manny Kostas, SVP and Global Head of Platforms & Future Technology, HP
    Manny discussed breaking through silos to get into more conversations with customers. He’s a person with unique perspective since he’s been CMO at both Symantec and a division of HP and now he’s responsible for 3,000 engineers working to reinvent HP’s printer business. Manny’s passionate about not imposing our business structure on our customers, which breaks the dialog with our customers. You can watch Manny’s session at about the 1:07 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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Before the first panel, my friend and someone I really respect, Robert Scoble joined Aaron on stage to share his recent news that he will be joining UploadVR as their Entrepreneur in Residence. All the best to you in the new gig Robert. Your early work at your Channel 9 days at Microsoft and you (and Shel’s) book Naked Conversations helped me prepare for taking the reins as Dell’s chief blogger back in 2006, Onward and upward, my friend! You can watch Scoble’s news at about the 1:24 mark in the PreCommerce livestream. Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang for the live pic.

Robert Scoble #SXW2O

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  • Susan Glasser, Editor in Chief, Politico and Peter Cherukuri, EVP Audience Solutions & President, Politico
    Susan and Peter discussed the evolution of sponsored content. Interesting perspective from the two of them and how they’ve made a new publishing model work for Politico. To do it, they re-invented what it means to be an online news platform in an era where journalistic speed a given in the space. That meant diving deep into new types of stories and experiences to stay ahead of their competition. You can watch their session at about the 2:16 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • David Kirkpatrick, CEO, Techonomy, author of The Facebook Effect and Graham Weston, Founder/Chairman, Rackspace
    David sat down with Graham to get his take on where the cloud was headed. Before jumping into the conversation, Graham took a minute to thanks Robert Scoble for his 7 years at Rackspace. Rackspace is a $2B company who provides cloud infrastructure and integration services for AWS and Azure clients. His company’s still focused on providing “fanatical” support in the midst of a changing competitive landscape. Lastly, David asked Graham about his considerable community efforts in the city of San Antonio and beyond. You can watch their fireside chat about the 2:47 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Jeremiah Owyang, Founder/CEO, Crowd Companies
    My good friend Jeremiah spent a few minutes getting into the future of Crowd business models. He shared examples of how the collaborative economy is already disrupting traditional businesses and also shared his take on how it would evolve moving forward . Key takeaways 1) Common digital technologies empower people to get what they need from each other. 2) The crowd is becoming like a company—bypassing  inefficient corporations. 3) Like the Internet and social, corporations must use the same digital strategies to regain relevancy 4) This requires a business model change: Product>Service>Marketplace>Repeat. You can watch Jeremiah’s session at about the 4:08 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Greg McCullough, Senior Director Partnerships, Medtronic and Gail Day, VP, Publisher Harvard Business Review
    Greg and Gail sat down to discuss what’s next in brand/ media partnerships. Gail attributed part of HBR’s success to the organization’s commitment to a goal to rid the world of bad management. That focus also extends to their partnerships. They’re strict about working with their brand, and that’s why they choose to work with limited partners. Medtronic was one of those partners. Their collaboration resulted iYou can watch their session at about the 4:31 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.


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  • Becky Brown, VP Digital Marketing & Media Group, Intel
    Becky spent a few minutes discussing The New Digital. Becky reiterated that marketers are all aware of consumers’ aversion to ads—look no further than ad blockers and the fact that they are willing to pay a premium for services without ads. Intel is answering this co-creating with companies like Buzzfeed and Mashable. And now, taking that idea with new ESPN where they integrated technology into the X Games, which allowed both companies to create new kinds of content. And they are building on the success of their online magazine called Intel IQ, where they will introduce original programming next month. You can watch Becky at about the 5:28 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Amy Hoopes, CMO, Wente Vineyards
    Amy took some time to discuss how user experience is becoming the new marketing. The family Amy works for has been in the wine industry for 133 years, in the Livermore Valley area of California. They were always good at making great wines. To understand the history of Wente Vineyards, Amy did extensive interviews with the family. Through that research, it was clear that the Wente family had been doing many innovative things, like operating a full-service white tablecloth restaurant that recently celebrated it’s 30th birthday. Amy talked about here SMS strategy: Simplify, Motivate and Share. You can watch Amy’s session at about the 5:43 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • The third panel of the day, All Hype Aside featured 1) Michael Putnam, SVP Consumer Marketing, AmericanWell 2) Lorie Fiber, Global Corporate Communications, IBM Health and 3) Jeroen Brouwer Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development, Philips
    Our own Rob Cronin moderated this esteemed panel of guests to discuss how digital health will impact our lives in the future. You can watch the panel discussion at about the 6:20 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Alex Gruzen, CEO, WiTricity Corporation
    Alex discussed the future of wireless charging and how it will impact us with all the smart devices we carry with us every day. When he says wireless, he means it. Their technology doesn’t require a charging pad to be plugged into on outlet. It’s about moving power over a distance. WiTricity Corporation’s technology works with all kinds of devices: from Bluetooth headsets, to laptops and tablets, and event electric cars. You can watch Alex’s session at about the 6:56 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing & Chief Evangelist, Sysomos
    Amber used her time to discuss the Future  of Analytics: Social Data and Beyond. She started by talking about how much customer expectations have changed. They expect answers in 30 – 60 mins, and they also expect those answers on nights and weekends. She  also talked about how creative design is even more important as a way to reach customers. Then, she discussed the importance of bridging the gap between data scientists and marketers or communicators. Analytics is currently a specialized skillset. But back in the 50s, typing was a job that was done via dedicated employees. Amber argued that data analysis will ultimately become a core skill just like typing did. You can watch Amber’s session at about the 7:10  mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

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  • Shiv Singh, SVP Global Head of Digital & Marketing Transformation, Visa
    Shiv discussed how to open source your brand.  He started with a simple but painful premise: that customers don’t trust your brand. And then he offered examples of how Visa reached out to the startup community for innovative ideas. One outcome: they are opening up the Visa network as an API for developers. You can watch their session at about the 7:20 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

Shiv Singh SXSW SXW2O

  • Hugh Forrest, Director, SXSW Interactive and John Battelle, CEO of NewCo and co-founder of Wired Magazine & The Industry Standard
    This fireside chat was a blast. John interviewed Hugh on the past, present and future of SXSW. See my earlier blog post here for a much more detailed summary of that lively discussion. The interview covered a lot of ground. My favorite quote from Hugh? “TED is this finely curated meal. And that’s wonderful. [SXSW] is a 24-hour all-you can eat buffet, and that’s wonderful at times too.” You can watch Hugh Forrest’s interview at about the 7:40 mark in the PreCommerce livestream.

Make sure to tune into W2O Group’s Movers & Shapers event.