2014 – a social round-up

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Author: Damola Timeyin, Social Strategist, BBH London

Each week BBH’s social team send round their ‘digital digest’ – their pick of week’s most interesting social/digital news. So to round off the year we asked them to look through their archives and highlight the most significant events of 2014 – the stories we should all keep in mind as 2015 arrives.

1. ‘Dark Social’ now 75% of all shares

Dark social relates to inbound traffic that can’t be tracked, such as links in emails, Whatsapp chats and some forums. 75% is a large chunk that can’t be accounted for and has implications for optimising digital campaigns for these kinds of user journeys. To put it in context, Facebook accounts for around 19% of all social media traffic.

2. YouTube releasing music service

Following hot on the heels of Vice and Live Nation, YouTube launched their own music streaming service, Music Key. The distinguishing feature of the new service is its advertising free stream and unlimited access to the Google Play catalogue, anytime, anywhere.

3. Merecedes lets you create own car on Instagram

Mercedes are getting a reputation for being at the forefront of digital when it comes to automotive brands. In this campaign they allow users to build their perfect car, choosing colour, wheels, grill, roof etc from separate accounts which are linked through the tagging functionality. There are 132 possible configurations and it’s well worth 5 minutes to have a play. Point your Instagram towards @GLA_Build_Your_Own

4. Facebook announces new Atlas cross platform ad network

Atlas claims to deliver ‘people-based’ marketing, helping brands to reach their audiences across multiple platforms, devices and even linking to offline sales.

In a nutshell, Atlas will follow users across the web, making a note of the ads they see, interact with and act upon and tie that information back to their Facebook profile, without the use of cookies.

Additional benefits will be in depth analytics that allow marketers to create far more complex user journeys to purchase; linking mobile ad views, desktop engagements and  a real world purchase all together. Genius but creepy.

5. Women now account for 52% of the gaming audience

The success of mobile games such as Candy Crush, challenged perceptions of who a gamer could be. The latest IAB study on gaming, provides further evidence that UK gaming habits and demographics have shifted considerably.

Based on interviews with 4,000 UK residents, the research asserts that women now account for 52% of the gaming audience, up from 49% three years ago.

This change in gaming behaviour presents a new opportunity for advertisers to reach 33m UK gamers, 61% of which, according to the study, would be receptive to in-game advertising if it allowed them to acquire the game for free.

6. Twitter launches ‘Buy Now’ button

The launch of Twitter’s ‘Buy Now’ is their biggest step into eCommerce and enables merchants to directly link tweets to sales. Twitter have teamed up with several eCommerce platforms to implement this new functionality and make the user journeys as simple and pain free as possible.

7. The Ice Bucket Challenge goes mental!

2014’s newsfeeds were dominated by more than a few videos of people dumping ice cold water on their head and nominating others to do the same to raise awareness of ALS and hopefully donate some money along the way.

Although there was criticism of the campaign, it has to date raised $22.9 million (compared to $1.9 million over the same period last year), spawned 2.4 million videos and recorded over 28 million interactions on Facebook alone. Although a simple mechanic, not everyone gets it right

8. The revolution will be televised

This year’s Ofcom Consumer Attitudes report provides further evidence of television’s dominance, however shows a clear shift in the context of TV consumption, from TV sets to computer, tablet & mobile screens, particularly amongst a millennial audience.

The increasing consumption of TV content in a digital environment presents more opportunities for brands to reach and engage audiences, but also raises challenging questions about the split of future advertising spend.

9. Is Snapchat any good for advertisers?

It’s been around for 3 years and there are now rumblings of an ad solution.With 100 million monthly users worldwide and half of all UK teenagers claiming to have used it, there is definitely potential. There is also speculation that Yahoo are investing $20 million into the app. Watch this space… See what some industry folk have to say about it here

10. Instagram bigger than Twitter

In what came as a surprise to many, this year Instagram reached a significant milestone, a milestone which places social network above Twitter in terms of monthly active users. With 300 million active users, Instagram is still far off Facebook’s mammoth 1.3 billion mark, but demonstrates its capacity to showcase the ‘live pulse of the world right now’ in the same way Twitter has become famous for.

And a bonus piece of December news…

…11. Google launches ‘Store visits’ metric to help prove online-to-offline adword impact

 The latest salvo in the Google-Facebook Ad Wars has the search incumbent tracking logged in mobile users from website visit to store visit to demonstrate that effective online advertising can drive offline traffic. Fascinating implications, not least for privacy.

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