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October was a big month for social media, with updates and new features across all channels. Keep your clients up-to-date and socialize what’s new! If you would like to be featured in the November updates, please let us know!

What you need to know in October:

  • Users Can Now Edit Facebook Posts
    • Facebook users can now go back and edit posts (including status updates and images) after they have been posted. All engagement on a post will not be lost, as opposed to previously deleting a post/comment. http://w.cg/16pz9S
    • Why it matters: While this feature is only available to users and not brand pages, brands must be aware of what fans are posting to ensure they do not change the copy after the comment goes live,
    • What you have to say about it: “This new feature makes it easier to make changes on the go – which is entirely necessary in today’s world. I would imagine I am not alone in making most of my Facebook status updates from my mobile device and am looking forward to be able to edit those when needed, no matter where I am.” – Kendra Cassillo, Account Manager, Health, Los Angeles, CA
  • Facebook Graph Search – Updates
    • Facebook is making it easier for users to search for topics of interest. This update will make almost anything posted accessible to other users and keeps Facebook conducive to real-time conversation. http://w.cg/16pzhAV
    • Why it matters: Facebook is becoming a one stop shop. Brands can easily follow conservation about their products/offerings via Facebook, as well as understanding what fans are saying about competitors. The more time users are spending on Facebook (to seek information), the greater the opportunity to reach fans.
    • What you have to say about it: “This is a much-appreciated update for marketers, providing an alternative to Twitter as the go-to source for trending news.  We’ll be able to conduct real-time searches for publicly shared content. This offers a wealth of new competitive insights and consumer research that can be quickly gleamed through keyword searches into everything from competitors to  product attributes and all things important your friends and followers. For local market perspective, you can search by location to garner conversation threads for a particular city, offering insights for market-specific campaigns. From an engagement perspective, the new content searching enhancements provide quick and painless ways for brands to tap into timely events and conversations with posts that are relevant in the moment.” – Peter Duckler, Director, Earned Media, Los Angeles, CA
  • Facebook Simplifies Ad Buying
    • Facebook is simplifying the ad buying process by asking advertisers to choose their objectives from a list of options and then selecting where the ad will appear on Facebook. http://w.cg/1aWZxkt
    • Why it matters: The easier it is for brands to advertise, the more inclined they will be to do so. Advertising leads to more social recognition, which boots levels of engagement. The advertising will do the talking, while brands watch to see which campaigns are most effective.
    • What you have to say about it: “Previously, a lot went into implementing the most effective Facebook ads. It looks like Facebook is now taking steps to demystify their ad buying process by walking users through some of the more confusing steps and decisions. This is going to make it easier for clients to get their ads in front of the audiences they want. It’s also going to be easier for users to find out which images and campaigns are most effective. So ads are demystified, and our jobs are made easier. This is win-win! – Todd Dwyer, Analytics Manager,  Austin, TX
  • Facebook Ads – Across Platforms
    • Facebook advertisers can now target users across multiple devices, from desktop to mobile, thanks to a new self-serve tool that brings retargeted ads to Facebook’s mobile app.  http://w.cg/1bGNSrM
    • Why it matters: Companies can target consumers who visited their website or downloaded their app, but didn’t make a purchase.
    • What you have to say about it: “Companies are going to be able to reach consumers who may have visited their site, but didn’t necessarily make a purchase. I can see customers getting annoyed with this because they don’t want updates from a company that they are not purchasing from. Ads going on people’s mobile phone will be frustrating because with mobile, the ads are removed and scrolling through the feed is less distracting than on a desktop. I appreciate not seeing ads on my personal devices.” – Gage Grammer, Marketing Associate, Austin, TX
  • Twitter Allows DM from any Follower
    • Twitter users can now opt to receive direct messages from any of their followers. http://w.cg/Hx8fOz
    • Why it matters: This opens lines of communication between brands and their followers and influencers, making it much easier to connect with influencers, receive contact information, etc.
    • What you have to say about it: “This is key for brands who utilize social media for influencer outreach and real-time feedback. For clients like Verizon, who have spent a lot of time and effort establishing relationships and connections with influencers via Twitter, this new feature is a much needed update and opening for more meaningful conversations with both influencers, followers and potential customers in a social, yet a bit less public, forum. It’s amazing to me that this was not an update earlier since so many companies have a strong Twitter presence today.”- Lauren Barbiero, Associate, Media and Engagement, New York, NY
  • Twitter Suggests Followers Via Mobile
    • A Twitter update will now suggest which accounts a user should follow by sending push notifications via mobile. http://w.cg/18GTC1r
    • Why it matters: Your brand wants to be a top player in the “suggested follower” game. The more real-time/relevant conversation produced by your brand, the more users will be able to relate and pick-up on what you’re saying, thus, gaining followers and becoming a suggested account to follow.
    • What you have to say about it: “What you have to say about it: “I think that this is a nice, straightforward way to potentially characterize ROI for clients. Since Twitter’s suggestions will be based on engagement, this will be a great opportunity for us to encourage our clients to produce more engaging content to improve their “suggestibility”, and subsequently, to reach their potential audience.” – Jane Hurh, Analytics Associate, New York, NY
  • Embedded Tweets Now Include Photos
    • In an attempt to maintain its real-time marketing appeal, Twitter announced that embedded Tweets will now feature photos. http://w.cg/1aWZOE1
    • Why it matters: Strong visuals are more important than ever. Fans can now scroll through their feed, without that extra click to view an image, and will stop to pay attention to the photos that strike their interest and are above average. Your brand wants to be that brand.
    • What you have to say about it: “I think this speaks to how interactive media has become and appealing to all audiences. When reading a news story I want more than just great writing; I want to see a side-bar with a photo slide show or maybe a 90-second video along with it. Twitter is reminding users that this is one-stop shopping and I love it.” – Christiana Pascale, Healthcare Associate, New York, NY
  • Should Your Company be on Google+
    • While only 35% of big companies are on Google+, they are benefiting via Google. These brands are gaining SEO, properly utilizing hashtags and ahead of the YouTube game. http://w.cg/16zyiPb
    • Why it matters: Sooner or later Google+ is going to be a great platform for brands to have, especially if fans can’t comment on your valuable YouTube content without it. Your brand will also be more searchable, which will boost engagement amongst competitors. If your fans are on it, you might consider it as well.
    • What you have to say about it: “There’s more to engaging stakeholders than the tool you use to connect. It’s about understanding where your stakeholders are, how to meet them there and inspire them forward around what your brand or company offers. Learning about their current behaviors and interests will make the engagement more authentic and effective, helping them to make easier purchasing decisions. Google+ might just be the right platform through which your brand or company can engage, but it shouldn’t be just because it’s the second most-used social network worldwide.” – Abigail Rethore, Director, Corporate Strategy, New York, NY
  • YouTube Comments Ranked, Personalized
    • YouTube is rolling out a new commenting system powered by Google+ which aims to fix the issue of spamming in comments. Comments will be ranked based on several things, including if the commenter is in your Google+ circle. http://w.cg/Hx8usY
    • Why it matters: Influencers can comment on your videos, ranking higher than spam comments, keeping relevant comments higher and conversation between brand and influencer easier to track/follow.
    • What you have to say about it: “I’m interested to see how Google+ based rankings will play out. I worry that Google+ relationships don’t have enough data to make an automated algorithm deliver relevant content and that Google is forcing the channel onto consumers. In addition, adding the ability for brand pages to blacklist certain words will likely make brands more willing to engage, but this could also be a detriment to organic conversation – brands could potentially blacklist competitors’ products, or negative comments about the brand. This provides them with some ease of mind, but could also strip away honest conversation (which is ostensibly the reason that people like to engage online in the first place). – Stephen Yoon,  Manager, Corporate Strategy/Analytics, New York, NY
  • Pinterest  Expands Pins
    • Pinterest announced that article pins will now include the headline, author, title, a brief description and link, right on the pin, making it easier for users to save, organize and share articles. http://w.cg/17ZX33Y
    • Why it matters: Users can pin now, read later. This means that instead of browsing over your content and forgetting about it, they can pin it and it will be saved for them, expanding the content users save/read about your brand.
    • What you have to say about it:  As an avid pinner, it is frustrating when I do not understand the story behind a great photo or where the content originates. Pinners can now access more information on topics they care about from sites – and sources – they trust, knowing that the click-through won’t take them to a dead link. The photos uploaded with these expanded pins are going to need to continue to compete with Pinterest eye-candy and not rely on the links and copy to get attention of readers, because let’s face it, it’s hard to focus on too many words when you staring at a gorgeous shot of homemade lasagna that is made with only three easy steps.” – Jessica Carlson, Account Director, Chicago, IL

For more detailed information, please view our deck

Samantha HershmanErin Weinert, Amanda Cillo, & Michel’le Roddy, Consumer Team

 

 

 

The Consumer Team is introducing “Socialize,” the latest and greatest social updates you can find. We want our clients to be up-to-date with the latest in social media and we want them to hear it from us so each month, we’ll be sharing the new stuff, the next big thing and what’s hot. In September, we have taken a dive into Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube to socialize what’s different across all channels and why it matters.  If you would like to be featured in the October updates, we would love to hear what you have to say.

What you need to know in September:

  • Pinterest Announces Promoted Pins
    • Pinterest will begin rolling out paid advertising in the form of “Promoted Pin’s” in users’ top results and search categories. Ads will be clearly labeled and no money will be collected from advertisers during the testing phase. http://mashable.com/2013/09/19/pinterest-promoted-pins/
    • Why it matters: Another way for paid and earned to work side-by-side in helping to increase the search results of branded Pinterest pages.
    • What you have to say about it: “Recently we have seen a number of brands seeking out Pinterest as a key channel for connecting with their audiences, so it was no surprise that the platform has decided to make the move to incorporating paid advertising. As an analyst, I hear time and time again that brands are starting to see higher site referral traffic through Pinterest so it’s a natural fit for the site to embrace e-commerce and advertising opportunities.” Natalie DeNike, Analytics, Austin, TX
  • Video Auto-Play Within Facebook
    • Facebook launched a test through mobile that will auto-play any user-uploaded videos when scrolling over. The video will stop playing once it slips off the screen. http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/12/facebook-tests-silent-auto-play-for-user-videos-in-mobile-feed-foreshadowing-video-ads/
    • Why it matters: Moving in the direction of automatic playing of paid content (ads). Content being uploaded to Facebook with auto-play may increase interaction & views. The more views / interactions, the more likely that videos will be seen in other’s news feeds.
    • What you have to say about it: “That’s just more interruption. At least Vine is muted initially when scrolling through. This might as well be another disruptive ad.” Spike Jones, Group Director, Austin, TX
  • Facebook Makes Conversations More Accessible
    • Select users will be allowed to search all public Facebook posts by using keywords and data strings. Rollout will begin with a small group of media outlets such as BuzzFeed, CNN, Slate, etc. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/facebook-offers-new-windows-into-social-conversation/?_r=0
    • Why it matters: Future focus on targeted advertising, based on public and private information. This introduces another layer of analytics to understand what people are saying about brands and the content, and/or demographic information in private networks.
    • What you have to say about it: “Facebook’s new search features will provide much more depth to our analytics work with Verizon—particularly for unanticipated events like the NSA. We’ll be able to draw real-time insights into what users are talking about and the ways in which they’re communicating (e.g. Hashtags, video, images, etc.), as well as overall demographic information. Not only will our reporting become more robust, but our recommendations into Facebook engagement and best practices will benefit also.” Sarah Masel, Analytics Manager, New York, NY
  • Twitter’s New “Verified” Filter
    • Twitter introduced two new filter tabs to users with verified profiles; filtered (shows mentions based on algorithm to cut out spam) and verified (shows interactions with other verified profiles). http://marketingland.com/twitter-gives-verified-users-new-spam-verified-only-filters-for-mentions-58876
    • Why it matters: For users of verified accounts, you can filter conversations from other verified accounts – meaning you can/should have more meaningful interactions, faster (less spam).
    • What you have to say about it: “From a brand standpoint, I think the introduction is very helpful. As more brands continue to build an online presence, the ability to filter and organize relevant conversations allows for greater and speedier responses from the brand as they can hone in on the important interactions most impactful to their community.” Melanie Weiss, Account Manager, Los Angeles, CA
  • Offline Viewing Coming to YouTube
    • YouTube announced their new feature that will allow users to watch videos while offline. Content will refresh when internet connection is available. http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/19/youtube-offline-video-for-mobile-explained/
    • Why it matters: Pretty big deal – no internet connection required to watch videos. Think of this like DVR-ing your content for offline use.
    • What you have to say about it: “I think this development speaks to the ‘consumer is boss’ mentality.  The ability to download videos and view them at a time that’s convenient for you – where you may not have wifi, internet or phone service – makes it that much easier to consume content.  It also will be good service for emerging markets where internet access may not be readily available or mobile communications are lagging behind” Pete Collins, Group Director, New York, NY

For more detailed information, please view our deck.

Samantha Hershman & Erin Weinert, Consumer Team

 

The evolution of social media from something “your teenagers did” to something that brands use to connect with key stakeholders has been nothing short of amazing. As evidence of that evolution, take a look at the audience figures for the last couple of months for some of the most popular social networks

It is those latter two statistics that have brands buzzing these days. Regardless of what conference room we are in, or what client we are talking to, the conversation inevitably leads back to content marketing and the importance of visual content therein. Why do brands care? Sites like Instagram and YouTube are still seeing tremendous growth, while Facebook and Twitter have stagnated. Millenials, a key target for many brands are flocking to these sites in droves instead of Facebook or Twitter. Most importantly, sites like Pinterest are proving successful in driving people to websites where customers can ultimately make a purchase. ROI…ROI…ROI.  Bob Pearson, W2O Group President is fond of asking, “If we were to take away all of the written text about your brand online would the visual content still tell the story you want told?” In case you were wondering, the answer to this question is most often ‘no.’

So how do brands start to answer ‘yes’ to the question that Bob is posing, aside from using channels like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube? One of the ways brands can leverage multiple visual assets within unit is a Content Capsule. The Content Capsule is the brain child of Tim Bahr, CEO of NextWorks, a strategic partner of W2O Group. The content capsule is a unique platform for content delivery across the PESO model of media (paid, earned, shared and owned). Tim and I sat down to talk about the content capsule, and how it fits into broader content marketing program.

Why do you think marketers are showing such strong interest in Content Marketing?

Smart marketers realize that consumers are not interested in ads and promotional material; especially when they are online or on mobile devices.  A .01% click through rate on display ads pretty much tells that story. Online and mobile consumers, who are in a buying mode, are most often seeking information to help them make a buying decision.  Marketers now recognize this as a huge opportunity to provide valuable and relevant information on their products and services that can help people buy their products.  That’s exactly why content marketing is the top priority for most marketers today, and why many believe it will be the most important area of marketing in the future.

What do you think of the trend toward content marketing?

I think the move toward content marketing is a very significant advance in marketing and the entire business/customer relationship.   We are finally starting to recognize the intelligence of our audiences.  We can’t just talk at them anymore with promotional messages that they have not requested and have no interest in.  They can just simply turn those messages off.

To successfully deliver a message to an audience in the digital world, where the user controls the receipt of messages, the message must be informative, relevant and provide value.  That outcome of this new means of communicating will be greater engagement and stronger customer relationships.

What do you think is key to successfully delivering content to an audience?

First you should know what the audience wants.  Today’s social media analytics can give you those insights.  Then you need a distribution platform that can deliver content to the audience wherever and whenever that want to receive it in an engaging and interactive manner.  Finally, you must be able to monitor all interactions with the content so you have metrics that can help you continually update and alter content to meet the specific needs of your audience and ensure you remain timely and relevant.

How does the Content Capsule platform deliver this type of audience engagement and measurement?

The capsule platform is an interactive canvas that allows marketers to tell complete stories with videos, images, presentations, links and transactions in one self-contained, branded and highly sharable unit.  An audience can be taken on a journey from assessment through engagement to conversion without ever leaving a company’s content.  Capsules allow marketers to easily launch content campaigns across owned, earned, shared and paid media on all devices.  And, because every piece of content within a capsule is monitored and measured, a marketer can respond in real time to audience interactions and update content while a capsule is in distribution.  When content is updated, capsules embedded and shared across the digital ecosystem all update.  This creates an opportunity for ongoing programming of relevant content to multiple audiences across all platforms. Here are some examples of content capsule platforms we have built for other clients.

BMC

P&G

During this week’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio Tim and the NextWorks team will be demonstrating the capsule platform for attendees. Make sure you stop by and check it out.

If you’ve ever spent months planning for a trip, a music festival, or even college, you probably employed a few peer recommendations and a healthy dose of guesswork. Which cities/resorts should you consider, which bands should be on your playlist, which school will help you land a dream job? Here at W2O Group, we’re demystifying the process with forensic analytics. We believe that a brand’s online social resonance is a leading indicator of offline word-of-mouth advocacy. By monitoring digital dialogue, content sharing patterns, and peer networks, we can predict the next “big thing”.

I’m excited to introduce W2O Ranks, a digital relevance rating for newsworthy personalities, brands, organizations, and places. You may have seen the past work we’ve done ranking top universities and health care influencers (Sharecare). As we mature into the Agency of the Future we’re leveraging the in-house brainpower of our 70 analytics and 80 digital pro’s to test new proprietary methods. For a bit of fun, we ranked the top 20 bands of this fall’s Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) by reach, relevance, and resonance across social and digital channels.

ACL is a premier fall American music festival which spans two weekends, features 130+ bands, local eats and arts, and takes place on 46-acres of Austin’s Zilker Park. I’ve often wondered how (producer) C3 books bands, how they’re sequenced across eight+ stages and six days, and who will be the next breakout. As music becomes ubiquitously digitized, social buzz might be the best barometer for who is “hot”. But this doesn’t always correlate with font size and implied order on the official ACL lineup list. Each year there’s bound to be an Alabama Shakes, Skrillex, or Lumineers who magically transform their B-list timeslot into a coming-out party. This isn’t the result of organized PR, it’s good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advocacy. In the mobile age, a band’s rise to headliner status can happen real-time, so the question is no longer “who sells records” but “who builds digital momentum?”

To test the hypothesis we ran the 2013 lineup through a proprietary algorithm indexing social scores from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, web, and digital radio. The result is an interesting mix of established artists and a few potential breakout acts. You may be wondering how Eric Church, Portugal. The Man, and Grimes will drive attendance to ACL. These emerging acts may not sell wristbands, but they’ll probably light up C3’s radar with their ability to extend the festival experience beyond Zilker and into the social web.

Check out our playlist and have some fun with the infographic below. You can play media, follow artists, and share with your friends all from within the image itself. Keep an eye out for future W2O Rankings which could include athletes, actors, sporting events, movies, TV shows, vacation spots, chefs & restaurants, you name it (literally)!

Forgive us if you have heard this before, but video is becoming an incredibly powerful medium. There are other sites that host video content, but the biggest by far is YouTube. There are more than 800 million unique visits to YouTube.com each month. There are 72 hours of videos uploaded every minute, and there are over 4 billion hours of video watched each month. Those numbers are staggering, and brands need to understand how to leverage this visual medium. The good news is that there are folks like Jeben Berg at YouTube that understand how to create interesting branded video content. Jeben’s presentation at #socialcommerce was loaded with information, but here are a couple of takeaways from my perspective:

  • 25% of the search results from the world’s top 10 brands are links to user generated content. Jeben noted that this statistic was from 2009, but we would expect that number to increase substantially as social media becomes (even more) mainstream.
  • NIKE and GoPro leading the way – Jeben highlighted video examples from both NIKE and GoPro during his talk, and after seeing the videos you can see why. These are two brands that companies could learn from when they

We’ll be paying close attention to how YouTube evolves over the next few months as more brands begun to adopt it as a way to tell their story.

I know what you’re already thinking. Absolutely. Where else can I get 7 million+ hits on a piece of owned, branded content, if not on YouTube before the big game? It’s a hard argument to convince anyone otherwise, as I don’t know any other time of the year when consumers are more open and willing to invite branded commercials into their leisure time. For that alone, the answer is probably yes.

But all the controversy around this years’ ads got me thinking. If you spent $4M to air a commercial during the game, would you put it on YouTube in advance and give critics the opportunity to pick it apart? Or, wait until it’s shown in its regular airslot without all the pundit’s comments? I know the rule of controversy – a healthy debate adds fuel, and thus, more people watching.

The commercial for Mercedez Benz featuring Kate Upton was probably filmed knowing it wouldn’t ever air and it would ride the publicity. But in defending the ad, Kate created a bigger “oops” by admitting that she doesn’t even own a car.  Compare this to the 1992 Pepsi commercial featuring Cindy Crawford which is revered as one of the best commercials in Super Bowl history.  Obviously, in the pre-YouTube era, Pepsi didn’t exactly have to wrestle with such a decision to syndicate it ahead of time or not.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcroQsUN60s[/youtube]

Given their history of past ads, GoDaddy.com played their cards early this year. But wouldn’t a supermodel kissing a tech nerd receive more online buzz for its “shock value” had it first broken during the game? The fact that the controversy was the story lead, the effect has all been diluted before the game-time commercial. Same can be said of the Budweiser ad featuring the Clydesdales. I’d have been more interested in the storyline and it would have resonated more for me, had I not seen it already.  Maybe that’s why I loved the Jeep ad so much.  It packed an emotional wallop and it debuted during the game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FadwTBcvISo[/youtube]

And finally, there’s Volkswagen who practically wrote the book on the pre-airing concept in the YouTube generation. “The Force” (still one of my favorites) received 13 Million views before it aired on the big game. I don’t believe VW deserved the unnecessary negative spotlight for this year’s ad, so I’m glad to see it air during the game. But I have to wonder if its shelf life was cut short merely because it was released so far in advance that pundits could pick it apart.  I really hope not.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H0xPWAtaa8[/youtube]

Only time will tell if this year’s crop of ads that waited until game day to air will outrank the ones that chose to release it early.  But I have to wonder, given the response of this year’s critics, if ads of the future will continue to release their spots so far in advance or if they’re better off waiting until game day to put them up on YouTube.

2012 was a huge year for social media. The whole internet rallied against Congressman Lamar Smith‘s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The music video for Korean pop star Psy‘s runaway international hit Gangnam Style hit 1 Billion views, surpassing Justin Bieber‘s Baby to become the most-viewed video ever on YouTube. NASA put another rover on Mars and broadcast the landing on YouTube. These and a hundred other moments defined 2012 through social media.

And Mashable reported all of it.

Pete Cashmore‘s blog Mashable was one of the first social media blogs and quickly became the biggest. And, when it comes to using social media to reach and engage an audience, Mashable is second to none. In 2012, Mashable had an estimated 1.8M monthly visitors per month. On top of that, Mashable content gets shared on average 3.0M times per month on Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon alone. Mashable content gets shared more than it gets viewed.

As such an important player in the social media space, it’s interesting to view social media through the lens of Mashable’s footprint there. Here’s how Mashable’s content fared on social media in 2012:

 

How is social media and analytics transforming leaders?

Are managers grasping the significance of a workplace where information is democratized and expectations for open, transparent, authentic relationships are now the norm?

This issue of CommonSense…for the C-Suite delves into the new construct reshaping how organizations lead and manage people.

We hope you find it informative and useful!

The Food and Drug Administration, last week, pushed out guidance on how companies may respond to inquiries about off-label use of marketing drugs and devices, reaffirming a policy that’s been in place for at least a quarter-century. The document includes a discussion of a number of different arenas in which information in shared, including online outlets. **

As a result — in a fitting reflection of how starved people are for rules governing the use of new media technology – the document has been widely referred to as the FDA’s “social media guidance.” AdAge’s headline called them “Social-Media ‘Guidelines” in a widely cited piece. Slate’s headline used “Draft Guidance on Social Media.” FiercePharma’s headline talked about “sharing in social media.”

Though the excitement is forgivable, the headlines are not quite right. None of the larger philosophical questions about social media were addressed. None of the impacts of FDA inaction I wrote about last month have been ameliorated. It’s hard to imagine any large-scale changes in approach based on this document. Indeed, to the extent that the new guidance is helpful, it is in codifying a set of policies that are already in place.

What the FDA published last week is not social media guidance. It is merely guidance that mentions social media, or — in FDA’s parlance — “emerging electronic media.” It uses the words “YouTube” (once) and “Twitter” (once) and “blog” (once). The lack of ambition was skewered by former Merck policy guru Ian Spatz, who called the document “a belated lump of coal” on Twitter.

But even if the guidance doesn’t change the rules on social media, there is reason for optimism. The FDA is clearly conversant in digital media strategies and the new rules suggest an understanding of the way that companies are operating in the online space. When it comes to the narrow topic of unsolicited off-label communication, the agency did a thoughtful job of including a broad range of potential communication scenarios, from YouTube contests to public medical meetings. If all future guidance is as inclusive, we’ll begin to see the outlines of a coherent communications framework. Eventually.

Of course, the alternative is that the FDA could pull back the curtain on that framework even faster. Now that would be headline-worthy.

** WCG clients: We’ve done a brief analysis of the implications of the new guidance for both real-world and on-line communications. Please talk to your client partner if you’d like to learn more.