Archive for the ‘Social’ Category
22nd December 14
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.
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.
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.
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
Atlas claims to deliver ‘people-based’ marketing, helping brands to reach their audiences across multiple platforms, devices and even linking to offline sales.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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…
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.
29th May 14
Author, Shea Warnes, Social Strategist, BBH London
The problem with having a conversation is “it takes place in real time and you can’t control what you’re going to say” explained Sherry Turkle at a not-so-recent Ted Talk. That’s not the case online though. Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagrams allow us to curate, edit and filter what we want to say in pursuit of personal promotion. Ephemeral media allows us to share the moment and not live with them forever!
But it can be awfully exhausting. Especially, if like me, you don’t have a good eye for a good photo. There are particular times when sometimes we just want to share experiences with our friends. Unfiltered, immediate real-time moments. Moments that are being championed by the new wave of closed and/or transient products such as Whatsapp, Kik and Snapchat.
For brands, this provides exciting new opportunities to engage fans. Especially with reports that 700 million messages are being shared daily on Snapchat and 38 billion on Whatsapp. Despite these overwhelming numbers, only a handful of brands are really having a good crack at it. Surprising really when so many brand talk about wanting to build genuine relationships with our customers, because what better place than the channels where people feel most comfortable being their genuine selves?
The biggest barrier for many brands wanting to build a presence is a lack of insight. Without this how are we supposed to know the content that resonates best with our audience, or even who they are? Increasingly there are studies such as Sumpto’s study on student habits which are providing that insight. In the mean time, brands are taking a leap of faith to know what content to produce and how to behave.
Below are some starting points to get your brand in the right direction…
Be a nice surprise – I’m on Snapchat because it gives me a different way to be have an entertaining conversation with friends. Unexpected and at times silly content that simply serves to provide moments of amusement during the drops in my day. Brands wanting to engage with me should aim to have a dialogue that shows them in a refreshing light. It is intentionally ephemeral, so brands should feel comfortable exercising their personality more through less formal content and giving access to parts of the brand a fan would not normally ever experience.
Be a real person – The content I receive on Kik is from people at their most unguarded. They are not trying to add a filter of coolness and I’d expect that approach from any brand I followed. Have a look at MLB’s Snapchat strategy who rotate account ownership to different players and staff to keep the narrative interesting and provide a more rounded experience of the sport.
Be effortlessly charming – Use it as another broadcast channel for your print campaign and I’m out. There are platforms like Facebook which are better geared for driving sales. This is important on closed platforms particularly as the ambition should be to add value without the expectancy of an immediate exchange – that’s not to say there aren’t business opportunities to be had! Whatsapp, for example, has the functionality to provide customer service better than a tweet ever could.
Don’t expect to turn into Taco Bell overnight but start with good insight (and good manners) and someday your conversation should begin to promote itself.
21st February 14
Author: Alex Walker-Sage, Social Engagement Director, BBH London
Big. Noisy. Full of celebs. LIVE! Music and Entertainment together, in harmony. With the potential for stuff to go wrong. And including a new Twitter vote mechanic half-way through the show. Wednesday night’s new, improved, social 2014 Brit Awards had all the ingredients necessary to provide the perfect opportunity to take a look at the social media landscape and see where we’re at. This is the sort of big, one-off event moment that the twitterati love right?
Well, overall, yeah. The picture’s a pretty glossy and impressive one. For one, Twitter revealed on Thursday that the event was the most-tweeted about TV show in the UK ever, with the live TV broadcast attracting 2.17m posts about the show, and a further c.2m messages sent in relation to the social vote.
It, as you might expect, smashed the social stats of all other the other shows that aired to smithereens:
Verdict: The Brits won.
And the social vote? That, predictably – due to the number of their teen fans heavily-reliant on their social channels for day-to-day survival – was won by One Direction, with their fanatical fan-base ensuring they took home the gong for Best British Video.
Verdict: 1D won.
The introduction of a live and transparent voting element via Twitter was a pretty obvious ploy to encourage involvement from the audience and ensure the event impacted those on other platforms who may not have been watching, or frankly even care it was on. And, whilst an obvious next step in award-voting terms, there’s something pretty exciting here about a live, commercial event brand, with global reach, handing the power over to its audience for chunk of it’s output. Ok, there was pretty much no risk involved, but the fact the power dynamic was shifted for a small window of time into the audiences’ hands is to be applauded. The immediacy of social should see this type of moment become common-place across all types of different pieces of traditional ‘broadcast’ output.
Verdict: Twitter won.
We all know then that social is at it’s best when allowing transparency and a bit of a shift of power to the masses to deliver powerful, cumulative results that can, ideally, make big stuff happen. The Brit Award sponsors MasterCard know this, their PR agency apparently did not, sending out emails to journalists asking that they guarantee coverage of their client in event write-ups in exchange for their attendance. Cue much discontent. Cue twitter rebellion.
A rebellion that led to their paid-for Twitter trend pointing people to an article dissecting the whole sorry social mess in the greatest of detail.
A quick analysis of social sentiment for MasterCard (the entire brand, not just that specific to the Brits debacle) across Twitter from Wednesday to today is as follows:
Verdict: MasterCard lost.
Clearly there’s a whole load of things that are wrong with this approach but the number one and two take-outs should be about knowing your audience and maintaining transparency. Then there are loads of other learnings around having amazing ideas, being consistent with them, ensuring they match up across all media, and are executed perfectly and in a timely fashion. For all of these (and much, much more) come talk to us.
As a final point, and because I love Daft Punk, it’s worth touching on how successful brands can be when they get their involvement in events like this just right. On brand, irreverent, and perfectly pitched for the media it played out in, this effort from Paddy Power doesn’t really require much more explanation:
A similar Twitter sentiment analysis to that described above shows the following:
Verdict: Paddy Power won.
Twitter, enabling real-time interaction and engagement that can effect real change in live content output in particular, is only going to grow in importance, and it’s vital that brands navigate their way through the noise to achieve real cut-through whilst maintaining transparency
Whilst MasterCard was everywhere in the few weeks leading into the awards, as well as on the night itself, Paddy Power proved it’s not necessarily about ‘owning’ the event (and all the associated costs that come with that), but more about cutting through the noise at the right time with a strong creative idea, well-executed. 1D fans did it by all coming together at a single point in time. The Brits and Twitter did it through enabling audience involvement, offering a single point of interaction in what could otherwise be a traditional broadcast event. In the right hands, social can and should deliver a powerful perspective.
24th January 14
Marketers could learn a thing or two from ecologists on the maintenance of ecosystems. We live in a world of always on brand communications across multiple platforms and communities that require the same care and attention as the Amazon’s most delicate wildflower. Over the course of time, new parts of a brand’s ecosystem must be created, grown and nurtured, whilst being careful to think how these new presences will impact the rest of the system.
Like any good ecologist, marketers know that overinvestment and focus on just one organism or resource can leave the rest of the ecosystem malnourished. However, when looking to develop beyond their status quo, new platforms and opportunities are often discarded as a distraction or a gamble compared to the reliability of their main channel. But it may be a bigger gamble for marketers to not care for, or develop, the rest of their ecosystem. What happens when that once fruitful resource dries up?
Organisations are continually encouraged by Facebook to first invest to build an audience and then spend again to actually reach them (thanks to Facebook’s ‘clever’ Edgerank algorithm). They get an immediate positive return, their fan numbers shoot up and the reach of each post is in the millions. But then, as they grow, they have to spend more to reach the same audience. And then Facebook tweak the algorithm and it becomes harder to reach their original audience, so they spend a bit more. Then their original audience gets bored with all the branded content on Facebook and starts spending more time on other platforms. By this time, the brand has invested so much time and money into this one platform, it would be a waste to stop now. Wouldn’t it?
Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman recently admitted that “We did see a decrease in daily users, partly among younger teens”. Immediately after this, they had £11.2b wiped off their share price. Everyone remembers the infamous collapse of previous all-dominating social networks and although Facebook is now so big and so ingrained it is unlikely to ever end up as dried up as MySpace or FriendsReunited, marketers mustn’t take this news lightly. This should be the warning bell for brands to start tracking the changes in their consumers online behaviours and deciding how their brand ecosystems should change accordingly.
Brands should be looking to diversify and experiment across new platforms as their online audiences develop. Snapchat didn’t exist 18 months ago and now more photos are shared every day than on Facebook and Instagram combined. This should be the time when brand’s ecosystems are reappraised every month, not every year. As audiences develop new behaviours – like teens are with mobile messaging apps – brands should be figuring out how they can connect with, and add value to, audiences on those platforms.
This requires brands to build and develop their ecosystem, which takes planning and continued management, not just to ensure the brand is covered at a basic social hygiene level, but to ensure the brand is gaining value from all of their activities. This need is why social media teams have developed from a sole community manager just managing a page to a team of analysts, strategists, creatives and now editors ensuring a consistent brand presence, narrative and experience across the ecosystem.
Ecologist Norman Christensen defined Ecosystem Management as “management driven by explicit goals, executed by policies, protocols, and practices, and made adaptable by monitoring and research based on our best understanding of the ecological interactions and processes necessary to sustain ecosystem structure and function” – which sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?
Things to consider to help manage your ecosystem:
1. Track your audience – Pay close attention to where your audience is moving online and decide where to follow them
2. Experiment before investing – the best brands act like users on social platforms, so follow their lead by cheaply creating content to see what your audience likes in different platforms
3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – As with any B2B service, it can be dangerous to solely rely on one platform – build your ecosystem across multiple platforms
4. Look to build retained data – ensure you’re building for the future and collating valuable consumer data to add value to future opportunities
18th October 13
Author: Shea Warnes, Social Strategist, BBH London
Who are we looking for?
“Get us more page likes!”
“We need a Facebook sticker on our vans”
“Let’s make a viral!”
“People need a hashtag they can really get behind”
“Lets do what Oreo did in the Superbowl”
“We want people to film videos of their grans dancing”
Do these statements make your skin crawl? If so, we’d like to talk to you.
BBH is looking for a Social Strategist to join our rapidly growing Social team. We need someone who can cut through the social waffle and understand the true business needs of a brand.
What is a Social Strategist?
Social Strategists at BBH are passionate advocates, well-versed in digital communications. They have a strong strategic background – a traditional understanding for a modern environment.
They understand the technologies that enable social communication and think with the community or user in mind. A passion for the platforms is essential, they are called upon for the latest developments within the industry. They have an intuitive approach on how best to work with communities and develop advocacy for a brand. They can identify and articulate a social insight based on audience behaviours.
They will help lead the agency’s vision for social, inspiring teams, challenging the status quo and optimising campaigns for social. The role is crucial for helping BBH get to great ideas, so creative thinking is a must.
Expectations of a BBH Social Strategist
Present strategic thinking clearly and convincingly, in terms that make social media strategy understandable and tangible for all
Develop stand alone social strategy for brands/campaigns, working into the Social Strategy Lead and working closely with the BBH Brand strategists
Continually strive to develop fresh insight and original thinking which adds value to the client’s goals in social and helps build creative ideas
Understand how the advertising you are involved in actually works, and whether or not it is effective and how appropriate it is for the social platform in question
Deliver external training programs in social media, skilling up clients with the latest knowledge
Establish the foundations of process and best practice for social media in client organisations
Extensive knowledge of social platforms and social behaviour on them
Be able to get your ideas across to any audience, via simple articulation and well-argued logic.
To adapt your method of communication to suit the needs of different audiences (written vs verbal, formal vs informal, etc.)
Already demonstrated a strong understanding of social through strategic and creative recommendations that have been implemented
3+ years working in strategy on social projects
Successful social projects with their influence stamped on them
Experience presenting to and collaborating with clients.
Ultimately, like all BBHers, Social Strategists are ‘good & nice’ – someone who wants to make great work and work in a great environment.
If this fits you down to a T, or know of someone who it might, then send in a CV to: email@example.com
26th September 13
Author: Ben Shaw, Social Strategy Lead, BBH London
You’re sitting there asking yourself two questions:
1. What the hell is a Social Engagement Director?
2. Why has an agency created another job title I haven’t heard of before.
The thing is, we don’t properly know how to describe this sort of person. And there aren’t many of them around, which is why you may not have heard the title before.
Ok, we own up, they are *gasp* a hybrid.
They’re both sides of the coin. They know their stuff about engaging people in social platforms and can work with a team & client to get it done. They’ve put together the pieces of a content calendar and taken it apart to manage the process for getting it made. They know what metrics to measure and how to package it for different client needs. They want to write the strategy and manage a team. Essentially, they’re a thinker and a doer.
So, we’ve established they’re a hybrid, what else does this fantastical person behold in their skill set?
They will have been around the block. They are likely to be doing one these roles: Senior social media planner, Senior social strategist, Senior digital marketing manager. They will have delivered in spades across a variety of clients and have strong, informed opinions on where the social landscape for brands is heading.
We’re looking for a senior, brilliant practitioner with proper experience who is going to develop & strengthen our social team. They will be co-managing a team of handpicked specialists comprising of analysts, social strategists, community managers, influencer networkers, and working alongside account strategists to develop best practice social thinking and output for our clients.
BBH is fortunate enough to have some of the best brands, big and small, in our portfolio because we’re a restless company, constantly striving to do the most effective and exciting work possible. Creating socially connected ideas is at the top of our agenda for growth, so they need to have an entrepreneurial attitude to their work – enough to continue to grow the BBH social offering and grasp new business opportunities.
They know the latest ins and outs of marketing on social platforms – because they are passionate about this, both personally and professionally. They can easily define a brands business & social objectives, focus on how that brand can serve the needs of a community, write a brief and work with creative teams to help shape an idea. They know all the those important acronyms like KPI, ASU and yes, OMG.
A good cultural fit
Like all BBHers, they’re ‘good & nice’. They want to do great work and have some fun doing it.
We’re looking for one of them. A Social Engagement Director.
If think you are one, or know of one, get them to send a CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th September 13
This is the second cross-post in a series we’re putting up this week from the tech column we’ve written for Marketing magazine over the course of this year. This post looks at the rise of Snapchat and the implications for marketers, it appeared in Marketing in July. Think of it as a sister post to Jason’s recent post here ‘Why the ephemeral is here to stay‘.
Reading of the recent death of Bert Stern, the photographer most famous for his ‘last sitting’ photographs of Marilyn Monroe and, closer to home, the advertising shots he took for Smirnoff in the 1950s, you cannot help but admire how iconic the work was. A perfect cocktail glass stands on sand, reflecting an inverted Pyramid of Giza as the sun glides down behind it. Carefully crafted, pure, timeless allure.
Juxtapose that with the news that Snapchat, the free app that let’s you share video and photos that self-destruct in a matter of seconds, has been valued at a cool $800m during its latest round of funding. Unsurprising, perhaps, given its meteoric usage growth curve (200m images shared daily in June, up from 60m in February, according to Snapchat figures) and yet still somehow staggering. As the Financial Times pointed out, this is more than Instagram’s final sale price ($700m) after Facebook stock slumped. And this in the same week Instagram introduced 15 second video to compete with Vine’s even more microvideo service, not to mention Facebook’s own Poke, questionably – but deliberately – identical to Snapchat, launched at the end of last year.
So is this super-light touch, technological transience nothing more than a superficial bubble, or a signifier of something deeper that marketers should pay attention to?
Time will tell, of course. But, as any user of Snapchat will tell you (13-24 yr olds are the app’s current centre of gravity in age terms), it does offer a solution to a very modern problem. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s founder, says the service was designed deliberately to offer an alternative to the pressure social media can bring to bear on users to present an idealised version of themselves. Against a backdrop of carefully curated streams of perfect holiday pictures, users want to share the real, the immediate, the silly side to their lives without the photographic evidence remaining on Facebook to haunt them forever. And, yes, no doubt there’s sexting too but, as Spiegel is at pains to point out, the app is most often used to share what’s happening now; the extreme transience of the service “doesn’t actually make sense” in a sexting context.
Brands seeking to reach a younger demographic are experimenting in the space, although inevitably the activity is largely promotions-based on what is still a nascent platform. Snapchat themselves are reported to be considering in-app transactions and native advertising as a route to monetisation in the medium term.
Certainly the fleeting immediacy here may feel like an anathema to traditional marketing ideas that so often value carefully planned permanence over pertinence, but I can’t help but think that it’s healthy for us to explore technology that help brands get closer to the naturally transitory nature of users’ real lives.
Perhaps what we are witnessing is a second wave in social media, where we recognise that users don’t want their every move and word captured and held in static perpetuity. If Snapchat doesn’t fit your brand’s value set, then witness the altogether more grown-up Tumblr.
In his speech at Cannes this year, Tumblr’s CEO David Karp made a point of distinguishing the platform from the likes of Facebook or Twitter. In short, Tumblr values great content over constant social interaction “You can keep it small and do it in a campaign-orientated way”, versus the 24/7 newsroom approach brands feel they need to adopt on other platforms. Karp stressed the fact there are few publicly visible metrics on Tumblr, versus the follower/friend count on Facebook and Twitter: it’s a place brands can house content they can share with audiences, without feeling like they’re under constant scrutiny or trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Suddenly, brands seem remarkably like their users.
7th August 13
It was a great man, Ferris Bueller to be precise, who once uttered the immortal words “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So wise and so relevant it seemed to me, as I reflected upon the phenomenon that is Snapchat. Last month, less than 2 years after launch, Snapchat raised $60m in funding on the basis of a $800m valuation from prominent VC’s. Dennis Phelps of Institutional Venture Partners gushed emphatically “The funding round was “one of the most competitive financings we have been a part of in years”. Despite the fact that they are yet to make a single dollar from advertising or charging users.
In many ways Snapchat embodies the very essence of the ephemeral but I couldn’t help wondering if it might be a signifier of a broader trend unfolding, something more fundamental and profound. As a generation of “digital natives” grow up and look to their future, and the whole world considers the repercussions of Edward Snowden’s revelations, it appears that we are collectively reappraising our engagement with the digital world. We grow increasingly aware of our ever deepening reliance on networked technologies, the blurring of public and private space, and the changing nature of our relationships with others, and we are beginning to explore new strategies to respond.
The Snapchat story
The genesis of Snapchat is shrouded in claim, counter-claim and litigation, and comes complete with its own Winklevoss Twin (singular sadly). In 2011 Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy took their Stamford University classmate Reggie Brown’s idea for a self-destructing messaging service and launched the app in September 2011 that year. Since launch the user base has grown at a staggering pace despite many detractors trying to write it off as a novelty app for creative sexters. Take one look at the numbers its obvious that there’s more to it than that. Snapchat users, particularly teenagers and college kids, now share over 150 million pictures every single day, more than four times Instagram’s daily shares.
Building the Ephemeranet
What’s particularly interesting is that Snapchat’s unique appeal comes from restricting, rather than enabling the intrinsic connectivity of the web. It lets people share experiences with friends, but it does so in a way that is time-bound and impermanent. Nothing you send is stored, and none is searchable. A generation of users who’ve grown up immersed in the social web are beginning to realise that their intimate experiences are not only available to their friends. They are also open to would-be employers, their parents, even that girl they may want to marry someday. According to Evan Spiegel the increasing pressure on them to manage their idealized online identity has “taken all of the fun out of communicating”. In glorious contrast, the transient and ephemeral nature of Snapchat provides a more spontaneous, less controlled or contrived way of communicating. By simplifying a security process enough to the point that anybody can use it Snapchat has created a market for privacy protecting ephemeral communication, an opportunity investment money will help them exploit further.
Potluck vs Performance anxiety
In July Josh Miller and the team behind Branch launched their new platform Potluck. Potluck, though very different to Snapchat, bears comparison because it also provides users with an interesting alternative to the performance anxiety of mass social interaction.
Potluck is essentially a link-sharing network built on top of a users’ social connections from Twitter, Facebook and Gmail. But unlike many of today’s social networks the focus is not on having users craft an online persona, but rather on the content being shared. Links shared on Potluck aren’t accompanied by people’s names or avatars, only the topic or name of the link, and the number of your friends who are talking about it. Instead of worrying about how popular your posts are, or how interesting you look because of what you share, you can focus on more genuine conversations around the subjects that really matter to you. The performance anxiety is gone, making it more accessible for everyone. As Miller explains “The whole reason we took the time to even focus on Potluck, is because we really do want to empower the people who are not having conversations to have conversations.”
Free to browse anonymously
If Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA’s PRISM programme have taught us anything (other than to beware of transit in Moscow airport) it is that our digital click-stream is an open book ready to be read by anyone with the computing power and inclination to sift through the meta-data.
The involvement of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google in the US spying programme has given an unexpected boost to lesser know search rival DuckDuckGo whose search requests have almost doubled to over 3million a day in the last month alone. DuckDuckGo provides ‘private’ internet searches which means that it does not track users in the same way that the big listed above do. It does serve Google-like ads, but without the customisation.
As founder Gabriel Weinberg explained, DuckDuckGo chose not to store search data because it reveals so much about us. Search data, he says, “is arguably the most personal data people are entering into anything. You’re typing in your problems, your desires. It’s not the same as things you post publicly on a social network.” Having decided that searching is intimately personal, he deduced, rather presciently that governments would want to get hold of search data. “I looked at the search fiascos such as the 2006 AOL data release, and decided that government requests were real and would be inevitable, and that search engines and content companies would be handing over that data [to government] in increasing amounts.”
Whilst DuckDuckGo’s numbers are hardly going to keep Googlers up at night this trend is illustrative of the growing recognition of the need to take control of the public availability of our browsing histories. Whilst DuckDuckGo’s entire premise is predicated on anonymity, “Incognito browsing” is anal porno of course a standard feature in Chrome, and similar features have since been adopted by Firefox and IE. Providing anonymous browsing may seem like a counterintuitive move for Google given their business model, but by giving users control over their anonymity on the most sensitive sites these features are more likely to reduce cookie deletion rates, thereby increasing the ability to target ads, thereby increasing revenues.
Military grade encryption from the App store
For those wanting the next level of privacy look no further than Wickr, created by Nico Sell, security expert and long-time organiser of Hacker convention Defcon. Wickr is a serious security-focused app that uses “military-grade” encryption to send text, video, voice, and document files that can self-destruct after a given period of time.
Hospitals and law enforcement have expressed interest in a similarly functioning Android app, Gryphn. Encryption legend Phil Zimmerman, inventor of Pretty Good Privacy or PGP, an encryption system so powerful that its distribution was once classified as arms dealing by the US government, is also developing an exciting and powerful suite of communication apps through his company Silent Circle. They are not for “average” users, but they will provide massive improvements in security for business and serious individuals who are looking for it.
So what does it all mean?
“Life is once, forever and new all the time” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson
The Web 2.0 evangelists proselytised the benefits of a new era where we are all publishers. The Social Web enabled us to harness not just the wisdom of the crowd but the wisdom of our friends. Every moment, every memory of our lives effortlessly shared through our ‘feeds’ creating a permanent, public, searchable and socially verified record of our lives. And why? Because we could. But sometimes “Because we could” isn’t reason enough. Without serendipity we grow stale and predictable. Without spontaneity we deny the authenticity of our human response. Without our privacy where is there space for intimacy or dissent?
Once opened this Pandora’s box cannot simply be closed, nor would we want it to be. But there is an alternative. Snapchat’s self-destructing pictures are fun, but they are more than that. They are fleeting glimpse of what we crave, the means to put us back in control. Providing us with a most important ability in this networked age, the means to disconnect.
25th July 13
Author: Ben Shaw, Strategist, BBH London
Over 50 years ago, Arthur C. Clarke established three ‘laws’ of prediction through the writing of his essays. The genius of his foresight in his future-facing assertions is perhaps only now coming to be truly recognised, as an ever increasing number of technologies, products and experiences continue to astound us.
Indeed, it is with a worrying pace how quickly we accept new technologies – today video chat is no longer a Star Trek exclusive and next year everyone will wonder where they were without their wearables. 5 years ago who would have thought Nike would be measuring every calorie you burn, Burberry would put you in the front row of their fashion show or Axe would be taking you to space?
Here at BBH London we’ve delved into the detail arap porno of Clarke’s 3 Laws to expose some of the behind the scenes development of our latest digital project, Mentos Fresh News, the world’s first video news channel all about you:
Law 1: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
Fresh News was the brainchild of one of our “distinguished but elderly scientists,” Pablo Marques – he knew the idea was possible and was almost certainly right. The only thing that Pablo said was impossible was actually making the project to the level of polish we wanted – producing a bespoke premium piece of content based on your Facebook behaviour that seamlessly stitches together multiple video edits & relevant scraped data with millions of potential combinations to create the experience of a personalised news channel. Pablo was wrong, we just needed to discover how to do it.
Law 2: “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
Facebook personalised experiences have been produced before. We looked to the previous “possibles” of The Desperado’s Experience and Intel’s Museum of Me to see what we could learn and how we could create something new and groundbreaking. Previous experiences had scraped and displayed Facebook data – we wanted to add a layer of intelligence & polish on top that creates the illusion of an “impossible” news show. Here’s the background tech on how we did it:
Law 3: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The wonder of Mentos Fresh News is in the ‘aha!’ magic moments – the moment you see yourself in an actual News program. You don’t see yourself as the produce of a number of behavioural rules. You don’t see the whirring of the machine. You don’t see any of the above happening. All you do is click a button and all you is see is you as the star of the show. All you see is the magic.
I wouldn’t like to say if Arthur himself would have appreciated what we made enough to share it on his Facebook page, but hopefully he would appreciated the behavioural scientific discipline and technological craft behind the magic.
Have a go for yourself at MentosFreshNews.com.
Thanks to BBH London & Stink Digital for making it happen.
28th February 13
Author: Helen Lawrence, Social Strategist BBH London & BBH Labs
The ‘BBH Junk’ email group is a wonderful place. In a standard day people will share robots playing Motorhead, a tool for remixing pop songs and occasionally the embarrassing instance of “oh my god, this video of a sneezing baby panda is amazing”. Yup. Still.
But more often than not it’s a place for questions. Any recommendations for hotels in Barcelona? What is the best dentist in North London? Where should I eat in San Francisco?
And my all time favourite…
Personal recommendations are still hard to come by. It’s a fragmented ecosystem, collating results across Foursquare, Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google isn’t much fun and certainly not all that useful.
Facebook’s recent (ish) announcement – Graph Search – is hoping to change all that.
It’s been a month or so since the news broke, so we’ve had a little while to ponder its potential and to chuckle at some of the more ridiculous searches done so far.
Facebook are hailing it as ‘structured search’: the ability to see connections between people, photos, places and interests. It’s all about content, connections and Likes at the moment; so far status updates and Open Graph actions, such a listening to a song, won’t be included. The examples Facebook have given of example searches include: restaurants my friends have been to in London, photos of my friends in New York and people at my work who like skiing.
The implications for brands are huge, and while we don’t tend to recommend knee jerk reactions following news of any platform updates, here are a few predictions on what might change.
1. The land grab. The importance of fan numbers is going to hit us again. It’ll be interesting to see how Fan numbers creep up naturally as users begin to explore content in results. Wormholes of recommendations and mutual interests are always going to drive traffic, but it’s likely we’ll see an influx of brands pouring money into Fan numbers to ensure they appear in as many results as possible.
2. Importance of rich media engagement. Facebook is the biggest photo repository in the world, Graph Search is probably going to make it the most useful too. Nowhere else can you search photos of ‘friends from Bognor Regis before 1999’. It’s not clear yet how a brand’s photos will appear in Graph Search results, but doubtlessly we’ll see even more emphasis placed on rich media content rather than traditional text updates.
3. Getting content prepped for Graph Search. Get ready for the Like button plague. Brands should start thinking about how to get content appearing in Graph Search results and most likely, we’ll see lots of those pesky Like buttons being placed on sites and content.
4. New analysis and strategies needed between passive News Feed engagement and active Graph Search engagement. It’s no longer enough to know how to reach people and how to engage, it’s now about know when people search and how to appear in that search. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the data Facebook can provide brands about how and when people are looking for your content and connections. Hopefully it’ll be better than the truly shoddy Facebook Insights offered at the moment.
5. Mobile. Because it’s forbidden to write a blog post about anything without saying that mobile will be an important part of it. Future of microwaves? Mobile. Future of fake tan? Mobile. But Graph Search is actually one of those times when mobile will actually be an important factor. Out & About is the obvious one – physical retailers and restaurants are going to have to find ways to get people to Check In and engage with content.
Whilst there are approximately 10.2 million blog posts already written about the ‘Death Of Google’ in light of Graph Search, the overlap in uses seems to be quite narrow. For example,
I’m not sure I’d go to Facebook to hunt down a plumber. That is definitely a job for Google, where recommendations outside my social graph are more important and useful. But for content discovery & organisation and lifestyle recommendations, Graph Search is going to be ace.