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On the eve of tomorrow’s EU referendum vote, Britain braces itself for a momentous decision in deciding whether the country should “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union.”  Week after week we have been tracking the data and while polls continue to show a tight vote we’re ready to make a call on the Twitterendum.

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Come tomorrow, we believe that UK Twitter would crown the #StrongerIn campaign victorious.

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At least on Twitter, the results are quite conclusive. The Brexit camp enjoyed a lead during a large part of the campaign, with far more outspoken supporters. Every ‘leaver’ contributed an average of 9.63 tweets to the cause, twice as many as Bremainers. However, in the end, raw account numbers proved far more important.

Brexit Analysis

Since the official campaign launch, the #StrongerIn camp has carved a growing lead in the total number of supporters, consolidating its lead in urban centers. This trend accelerated dramatically in the last three weeks, which experienced a sharp increase of unique accounts pledging their allegiance to staying in the EU. The effect of this swing is impressive, with the ‘stay’ camp ending with a 17% lead in unique accounts over ‘leave’ by week 26, having almost doubled its lead in the final three weeks.

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So there you have it. A look at extremely an extremely complex political vote through the somewhat reductive lens of Twitter conversation. While the correlation between the Twitterendum results and the actual referendum outcome of the remains to be seen, I’m not suggesting that Twitter is representative of the totality of the British voting public. But it might serve as a good indicator, an alternative tool to augment traditional polling.

We plan to compare the actual results of the referendum to our model and investigate potential connections in the weeks following the final vote. In the meantime, happy voting!

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Have you heard the rumblings about LinkedIn lately? Every week or so I see unrelated posts or someone in my LinkedIn feed complaining that it’s starting to look a bit too much like Facebook, with posts about celebrities and politics and other silly nonsense. I love spending time on LinkedIn for business related content and I agree it can be annoying when these posts pop up – like the ones I featured in the image above.

There are actually some easy things you can do to make your LinkedIn experience better, beyond complaining and dramatically logging off forever. Here are three ways to clean up your news feed.

LinkedIn responses

  1. Bite your tongue: Did you know that every time you like, or comment, on a LinkedIn post, it tells LinkedIn that you like that type of content and it broadcasts that post to everyone in your network? So if you comment on a post you don’t like with a complaint, such as “I’ve had it with these posts, I’m sick of LinkedIn turning into Facebook!” — everyone else in your network is also going to see that same annoying post plus your comment. And LinkedIn will be more likely to serve you this type of content in the future. The best thing to do here is avoid engaging with the posts you don’t like and instead, take action. Which brings me to…
  2. Unfollow the troublemakers: Don’t like something? Hover over the top right of the post where it says how long ago the post was written and it will turn into a small carrot arrow. Click on the arrow to see your options, including: Hide this update(so you won’t see it again), unfollow this person (they will remain a connection but you won’t see their updates in your news feed), or report this update (to report spam or scams to LinkedIn).
  3. Curate your news feed: You can add more interesting sources to your news feed by following businesses and influencers you admire. Simply search for them in the search box at the top of LinkedIn and click follow. You’ll start seeing their posts in your news feed when they have something to say. And remember, the more you engage with posts you appreciate (by liking, commenting or sharing), LinkedIn will give you more of it in your news feed. Engage more to signal to LinkedIn’s algorithms what type of content you like.

By doing these three things, you’ll notice an improvement in your news feed over time. I also hope you feel empowered to take action, instead of complaining or leaving. LinkedIn is a valuable resource and we can all help it stay that way.

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In recent weeks, there have been many noteworthy updates in the social media world. In this installment of The Social Scoop, we cover Instagram’s first ever ad campaign, Facebook’s newest visual features, Snapchat’s great big API, Pinterest’s new social targeting tools, and more. And of course…what those changes mean for brands.

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First Ever Ad Campaign

  • Instagram will be introducing its first ever ad-campaign this summer. Right in time for UEFA Euro 2016, Instagram users in France will be able to see their photos from the tournament on digital billboards. The UEFA European Championships puts some of the best soccer nations against each other on an international platform, and Instagram saw this as a great opportunity to collect community sourced images from the tournament as content to promote the event. They plan on integrating this new ad-campaign venture into online ads, as well as movie theater promotions.
  • What it means for brands: This presents a great opportunity for brand advertising on Instagram. With the ability to flaunt Instagram ads on billboards, in movie theaters, and of course online ads, brands will gain more visibility, which leads to stronger reach of content and hopefully driver of sales (if applicable). This also provide brands with a new space to run campaigns and become interactive with larger audiences.

Additional resources: Digital Trends; The Verge

Instagram Ad

(via Instagram)

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360-Degree Photos

  • Facebook introduced 360-degree photos to it’s Newsfeed, enabling users to upload a photo at a 360-degree angle, viewable on both desktop and mobile. For now, most 360-degree pictures from iOS devices will be in form of panoramic photos from the device. However, users can download Google’s Photo Sphere app to take 3D images. The process for uploading these images is simple. Just like uploading a regular photo to Facebook, users can click on the photo symbol, and select the 360-degree photo they wish to share. Samsung phone users will be the first group of consumers to be able to view the photos with virtual reality headsets, using their Samsung Gear VR technology. When using a smart phone, users can tile and swipe the image for full 360 view, whereas desktop users can click and drag to interact with the photo.
  • What it means for brands: Though this innovation is at an infant state, the possibilities of its use for content creation could be endless. For events, product launches, behind the scenes sneak peaks, etc., 360-degree photos present the opportunity for brands to share full-coverage views with audiences. This type of “all access viewing” also gives fans more to talk about, and therefore, more leverage to want to engage with your content.

Additional resources: Mashable; iDigitalTimes

FB 360 photo

(WCCF Tech)

Comment with a Video

  • A recent Facebook change will enable users to reply to any post with a Currently this feature is available via desktop, iOS, and Android. Users will have the ability to upload a pre-recorded video from their device or take a video on the fly with an in-phone video recorder via Facebook’s app and then attach the video and their response to another user’s video or post. This reply capability will be available on brand Pages, individual pages, groups and event posts.
  • What it means for brands: We know that Facebook users are most likely to interact with a post that has a video component. Now that Facebook has this feature, community managers will need to pay more attention to the comments and type of video material that users may upload to brand Pages. While brands will be hopeful that users will share positive videos, community managers will have to review this content to ensure it’s appropriate to live on the brand Pages. On another note, this does present another opportunity for two-way communication between brands and consumers, and brands and brands (Facebook Wars!). Essentially, brands will need to pay more attention to their consumer community on Facebook due to this new additional feature.

Additional resources: The Verge; Mashable

FB Video Messaging

(via Facebook)

Facebook Will Know Where You Shop

  • Facebook, in a partnership with Square and Marketo, is introducing a new GPS feature that can provide true insight into “drive to in-store sales.” If users view an ad online and then go to the store to purchase it, Facebook can track that with this new tool by using cell towers, Wi-Fi, and beacons, to tell is users went to the store after viewing the ad. As part of this new update, advertisers can use Facebook’s new Store Locator ad unit to drive traffic to in-store purchase. If brands are using a carousal ad for example, the store’s location and directions can be listed as the final image of the ad, instead of users having to click out and leave the app for more information, fueling consumer intent to go to the store after viewing the ad.
  • What it means for brands: This is great news for advertisers, especially those in the retail space. With this new tool, adversities can gain a deeper insight into the success of their “drive to sales” social campaigns and hone in on who is actually going into the store to purchase the product after seeing the ad, thus providing deeper insight into the target audience and influencing future targeting. In the past, it was harder to correlate social advertisements to physical, in store sales, and this will help clarify that.

Additional resource(s): TechCrunch

Facebook Shopping Photo

(via TechCrunch)

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Snapchat’s Many Updates

  • Snapchat has made several announcements in the last week, all of which position them as the newest advertising powerhouse within the social space. So what’s new and what’s to come?
    • Between Stories There Will Be Ads – Now, when you auto-advance between each user’s Story, an occasional ad will play. Note, this will not always occur, nor will it interfere with a user’s Story/content.
    • Swipe to Engage – After seeing an ad, users can swipe up to view more. This is dependent upon ad objective, but can include a swipe to a brands mobile website, a long-form video, or a full-length article specific to Snapchat’s format.
    • API – Instead of manually working with Snapchat repetitive to run campaigns, clients can use a new Ads API to do so, along with support from Snapchats newly announced tech and ad partners.
    • Ads with Moderation – Snapchat representatives will still routinely review ads for quality, to continue to ensure the ads are not oversaturating the user’s experience.
    • Partnerships (Ad-tech) – Snapchat has partnered with ad-tech developers, available to aid brands in media buying opportunities and the advertising experience.
    • Partnerships (Creative) – Snapchat has partnered with creative ad-agencies, available to help brands develop the content for their ads.
    • Ad-Measurement – Snapchat’s new partnerships with Moat, DoubleClick and Digital Ad Ratings will help advertisers target their audiences, measure their ads and provide insight into results.
  • What it means for brands: In recent times, because Snapchat is a relatively new social media platform, they haven’t had a full arsenal of measurement tools. Now that they do, brands can partner with them to advertise on Snapchat, and have full confidence that the right users are being reached, with quality ads that are not overconsuming or disruptive to the user experience. Brands can also drive more traffic from Snapchat to owned sites, encouraging users to learn more, read more, or download their apps. This is big news for brands and will help advertisers reach their objectives more efficiently from Snapchat.

Additional resources: Fortune; Ad Exchanger; TechCrunch

Snapchat Sponsored Data

(via TechCrunch) 

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New Targeting Tools

  • Pinterest has refreshed its targeting tools to include more niche targeting opportunities that will help brands and advertisers hone in on the right audiences. The new tools available via Pinterest Ads Manager include:
    • Customer list targeting – Advertisers will now be able to target their existing customers lists via Pinterest, using the e-mail and ID they used to sign up for an account or to purchase items on their website, and then matching that to their Pinterest account to gain new Pinterest followers.
    • Visitor retargeting – Advertisers will now be able to target people on Pinterest who bought similar items on another site. For example, if a consumer purchases a football on a retailer’s website, brands can use the visitor retargeting tool to target users on Pinterest with similar items to their original purchase on the brand website, in this case items like a sports jersey or other football equipment.
    • Lookalike targeting – Similar to Facebook’s measuring tool, advertisers will be able to target consumers who have similar physical and behavioral features as their existing audience to reach larger audiences.
  • What it means for brands: As with all new advertising capabilities, these new updates open a slew of opportunity to brands that advertise on Pinterest. According to Pinterest, brands who have used the new visitor re-targeting tools have seen an increased click-through rate by 3x. In addition to that, lookalike targeting has seen a 63% increase in click-through rate, as well as a 30x boost in reach.

Additional resources: TechCrunch

Pinterest Targeting Photo

Garret Clare HeadshotGarrett Clare currently serves as the social & search marketing intern for W2O Group in our New York Office. Connect with Garrett on LinkedIn or say hi to him on Twitter at @garrettw2o!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

NBA_LoudestFans_IndexEngagement

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.

NBA_LoudestFans_CumulativeEngagement

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!

Advocacy in the age of social oncology is no longer about simply “raising awareness” or boosting funding. According to Samantha Watson, who founded the The Samfund after her own experience as a young adult with cancer, those who are battling cancer, and those who did, are clear that they are looking for community and emotional support as much as they are financial resources.

While the analysis of hashtag communities that provided the backbone of this year’s edition of The Social Oncology Project found that advocates have huge influence in drawing attention to high-quality information resources, Watson’s experience suggests that information-sharing is just the tip of what can be accomplished through online networks.

Watson’s primary goal is providing grants; her group has given nearly $2 million to young adults dealing with cancer-related challenges, from medical care to financial assistance for adoption. But Watson said that the Samfund recognizes that they have a role to play in building online communities, too.

Watson discussed the new realities with us in advance of the ASCO meeting; if you want to carry on the conversation, please seek out Watson’s booth on the expo floor:

Samfund is mostly young adults. Is there a sense that this new generation of survivors is connected differently because of technology?

“Social media makes it much easier to reach people we could never reach via traditional media. Peer-to-peer efforts are critical for our fundraising. We have all of these people who are connected to Samfund, and each of them has online networks, so there is a ripple effect. We can share stories, and it’s amazing to see how so many people share them. We couldn’t do that if we were relying on newsletters and emails.

The online community has been huge. Half of our grantees are part of a private Facebook group. Watching them support each other has been huge. Social media gives them a place to assemble.

There will always be some problems that we, as an organization, can’t help with. But with our network, with our Facebook group, there is always at least one person, often more, who can chime in and say ‘I’ve been there.’”

You’ve written about crowdfunding before. How does that element intersect with this new type of communication?

“Crowdfunding is huge for our community. I was treated before social media, but an earlier version of crowdfunding helped me. It was totally lifesaving. When someone you know goes through an illness, the impulse is to ask what you can do to help. But for people who are far away, there hasn’t always been a good answer to the question ‘what can I do?’ That’s changing.

We still have to deal with how uncomfortable asking for money makes people. But that isn’t something that the young adult with cancer has to deal with. Setting up a campaign for someone is a great way for friends or family to help out.”

Are there drawbacks? Does building a national—but virtual—network isolate in its own way?

“We’ve tried really hard to get the best of both worlds. It’s important to have real-world experiences. But having a connection even with those far away is important, too. For someone who is skipping their meds and is geographically isolated, finding a community online is critical. We keep our eye on that a lot.”

What online resources have you or your grantees been able to tap into?

“We send every grantee all of our resources: our webpage and the private Facebook group and Instagram and Twitter. And we ask our grantees to help us out by sharing. We learned at our recent meeting for ‘Sambassadors’ that that is what is most important. In talking to them about what we do, no one mentioned the $1.6 million we’ve given out in grants. Instead, what they kept talking about was feeling hopeful again and feeling confident again, and how that came from being a part of a community.”

Download The Social Oncology Project 2016 here.

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).

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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.

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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.

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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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A few weeks ago, my coworker, Jessica Marpe, and I presented on the wonder that is Snapchat to our amazing W2O Group family, and to our surprise, everyone was joining in on the selfie nation!

For those of you who do not know what Snapchat is or have heard of it, but have absolutely no idea how to use it, then let me give you the low down. Once upon a time, there was a boy named Evan Spiegel who went to Stanford University where he met Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy (Snapchat co-founder and programmer behind the app). Brown was sending a girl pictures and thought “hmm I wish these photos would disappear!” Spiegel heard the idea, loved it and the idea for Snapchat was born, but they were calling it “Pictaboo.” In 2011, Brown wanted 30% equity and ended up being booted out of the company – later, Spiegel and Murphy changed the name to Snapchat.

There’s more to the story, but for now, let’s talk about Snapchat and what it is used for today. Snapchat has become a hugely popular instant messaging app that has become extremely popular with people between the ages of 13-34. Pictures and videos only last for a matter of seconds, and you can edit the photos like you would with Instagram. Within Snapchat, there are four different ways to view and create content: Stories, a compilation of your videos and pictures; Discover, a list of the world’s best publishers content that is hand crafted; Live, a look into the real story coming straight from the fans; and Local, a look into what’s happening in your city right now. As you can see, there’s so much to do and be a part of in this app!

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If you are new to Snapchat you may have never seen these, or you have and have no idea what they mean, but in your list of friends you will see emojis next to their names. Each one means something special about each friend – check it out below! My personal favorite is the “you are one of their best friends, but you just don’t feel the same way.”

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You may be wondering why Snapchat would even be remotely interesting to someone who isn’t a teenager, but there is a real business case behind it. Brands LOVE and utilize Snapchat to engage with their audience on a platform that allows them to directly interact with their favorite brand by taking screenshots, discovering secret passwords, and sending replies. Victor Pineiro from AdAge said, “Snapchat offers something unique in the world of mostly-broadcast, feed-centric social media – intimacy at scale.” And he would be correct!

Some examples of brands that are currently on Snapchat are The White House, The Voice, MTV, Ellen, ESPN, National Geographic and Comedy Central. There are many, many more, but sometimes finding these brands takes some research. In the Discover tab, you will find brands that are paying to be on Snapchat exclusively – some of these brands include, MTV, ESPN and The Food Network – these brands are offering content from an editorial function. The Live function is another way for brands to distribute content.

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While Snapchat users are adding their content to the live event they are at, brands have the ability to feature targeted ads within the story – an example of this is the Jason Bourne movie trailer. The brands such as Ellen and The Voice are a little harder to find unless you follow them on other social media channels to learn their Snapchat handle. They are not paying to be on Snapchat, but they are still engaging with users and fans with their own Story (owned channel) like a regular Snapchat user. If you are wanting to find out if your favorite brands are on Snapchat, I would suggest heading over to their Twitter or Instagram page – some brands have changed their profile pictures to their Snapchat icon and they are posting about their Snap name to gain followers.

The final features I will mention are the branded filters and lenses. There are two types of branded filter activations: Community filters and On-Demand geofilters. A community filter can be created for a city, university, landmark or another location that is public. An On-Demand filter are created for events such as a wedding or music festival. With geofilters, brand logos and trademarks are permitted in the filter, unlike the community ones. To access these filters, you must swipe right to see the different features available in your location. These filters are a great way for brands to get exposure at locations all around the world!

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With these filters, brands also have the option to buy interactive lenses that users can access through the facial recognition feature of the app – If you don’t know how to access this, simply hold your finger on your face in the app and the facial recognition options will appear below! These branded filters and lenses allow users to customers how they use brand assets and how they represent their relationship to the brand. If you want to create a filter or lens for your brand, visit their website and follow the steps!

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If you haven’t already guessed, there’s more to Snapchat than meets the eye. I challenge you to take a moment, find a brand or your favorite brand and interact with the brand or some of your friends! Now get to snappin’!

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Next Tuesday and Wednesday, April 26 -27, the National Summit on Strategic Communications, will convene at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  The two-day event will explore the increasing digital interconnection of people and its impact on innovation, growth, and purpose.

One of the day 1 sessions (April 26) features a panel discussion on the importance of Relevance for today’s organizations and how it’s becoming the new Reputation in today’s social/digital world.

Below are some initial thoughts from the panelists on this most intriguing subject:

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Chris Preuss, Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Delphi

Living within the somewhat finite universe of the B2B realm, the need for relevance is no less important than in the consumer space. For Delphi Automotive, our ability to maintain top-of-mind presence in what is an intensely competitive and cost sensitive market, is critical to our success.  Complicating the situation is Delphi’s long history of being an off-shoot of General Motors in 1997, and having endured a very public and painful restructuring during the period of 2005-2006.  Even with reasonably informed customers, Delphi suffered from an image of being a one customer entity with little global reach. The good news is that the building blocks of solid reputation – consistently delivering above expectations and doing what you say – has elevated the company greatly over the past several years. In other words, I don’t think there are shortcuts to gaining the kind of relevance that makes a reputation transactional.

Another interesting point to relevance is the need for our brand and our reputation to resonate for the purpose of recruiting. We are now spending almost as much intellectual and execution energy on attracting young engineering and software talent, as we are attracting customers. The need to understand who we are communicating with and where they are consuming their information has never been more important. And to be honest, this is not a great muscle in many B2B organizations. Most of our analytic and marketing automation capabilities have been targeted to a very narrow customer market – now we are having to act much more like a consumer brand to find the talent.  The good news is the environment to effectively and efficiently communicate with broad reach has never been better. Developing the story and content that will engage them is an evolving journey.

Carol Cone

Carol Cone, ON PURPOSE Collaborative

We live in a world where more people care. Public demands – for transparency, for trust, for sharing, for inspiration – have never been greater.  People expect brands and organizations to stand for something meaningful, and want to know more about how products are sourced and made, what businesses do to minimize their impact, and how they make a positive difference.  More than just hearing nice stories, people want to feel and be a part of purpose-driven change.

No longer just consumers, we are now citizens who want more. More sharing. More caring. More meaning. More understanding about why brands and organizations exist, what they stand for, how they engage employees, people and communities, and how they play a positive role in the world.

We’ve believed this for decades, and pioneered the idea and breakthrough programs that brought purpose to life. In the beginning it was “if” an organization existed beyond profits. Now it is about the “how,” with the power of purpose proven across every metric: revenues, productivity, innovation, employee retention, consumer loyalty, and community support.

Bringing purpose into the core of your business is the single most important action you can take. We call it the evolution of purpose. It’s a process. It takes vision, patience, and organizational champions.

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Rob Clark, Vice President, Global Communication, Medtronic

A 2014 study showed the following:

Every minute…

  • Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps.
  • Email users send over 200 million messages.

With all of this content flying around, how can a company or institution break through?  How can we meaningfully engage with customers, partners and employees through this noise?  This is the challenge for communicators and marketers around the world – being relevant with our message and growing brand equity in a time of a data and information explosion.

The answer is routed in what we have known for years – we have to fundamentally understand our customers and employees and never have we had more data and insights by which to determine this.  In a digital world, virtually all things can be tracked, monitored, and assessed for insights on what is relevant to our stakeholders.

At Medtronic, we have been tackling the following areas to better identify, understand, and engage with our stakeholders in the hopes of meeting their needs and advancing our reputation and preference in the marketplace.

  • First, infrastructure.  Legacy systems and siloed approaches are coming down.  We recently began implementing a single, global platform for digital and social media that provides a common content, distribution and analytics platform globally.
  • Second, content.  We’ve reassessed our content and how we deliver it.  Technical, bland content goes nowhere.  Though hard for a technology company in a complex, regulated industry, we are striving to develop content that is simple and interesting — crafted through better insights and delivered through compelling stories.
  • Third, data and analytics.   The good news – we have never had more data and information on our stakeholders than now.   The bad news – we are generally bad at aggregating, analyzing and turning into this information into action and relevance.  We are seeking to better track data longitudinally and then close the loop to better craft our content and programs.
  • Fourth, and probably the toughest…culture.   Large companies are not set inherently positioned to win in a digital world.  Historically, IT, HR, Marketing and Communications have operated independently with different roles in customer and employee engagement.  To the stakeholder – the employee or customer – that typically creates a complexity, blandness and lack of timeliness that makes the company increasingly irrelevant.   Bringing those constituencies together to examine and engage our stakeholders more horizontally in a digital world requires a new conversation and a new connectedness.

In the end, this work cannot be divorced from our core purpose – delivering great products and services that meets our customer’s needs.  Actions ultimately speak louder than words.  And, when these actions are paired with meaningful content, the company’s purpose and reputation will find its way through the clutter and be deemed meaningful and relevant.

Looking forward to seeing you there next Tuesday, April 26 at the Strategic Communications Conference in Arlington, VA for what will be an incredible discussion on the future of our work and efficacy! Register using code C786W2O for a discount on the conference.