Why videos go viral? via @Pulsar_Social #LDNSMC

Today is the day I went to my first London Social Media meetup, just to get the feel of the industry and meet some like-minded professionals (which I did, thanks for the welcome everyone!). The topic was not too bad either, given the fact that the Pulsar people delivered an interesting presentation on viral videos. They based their conclusions on data drawn from their digital listening platform and created so interesting patterns.

The Social Media Cafe – May edition was kindly hosted by Timberyard, who serve great Cappuccinos!

Why stuff goes viral

The presentation started pretty straight-forward. They studied the evolution of Captain Hatfield, Ryan Gosling’s cereal video, Dove, Gangnam style, the Turkish Taksim protests and other viral videos that went viral and searched for patterns. Used pulsar to track the URLs.

Apparently, there are two types of viral videos. A Spiker viral video gets 80% of its shares in the first 2 days, driven by a group of KOLs. However, the Grower viral videos, like the Dove one, gets its views slower, over a longer period of time. So even if your video doesn’t spike in the first few hours or days, there’s still hope.

The most share-able video was the Turkish protest one, thanks to the fact that it had a unique news item in it. It contained a lot of emotion and the interest for the topic was shared by a lot of people from all over the world.

Questions to consider: How long does it take for a video to peak? How long is it share-able? How constant is the spread, how volatile?

The Turkish and the Hatfield video went very fast (spikers), but Dove went slower (grower), with a more consistent momentum. The key question here was why that happened to both categories of videos. They looked at the fact that audiences influence the virality and found that there was no correlation between demographics and virality. But the connections and micro-networks had a big influence. Groups of people picked up the videos and shared them according to the type of audience within the group. The Turkish and Hatfield videos got inside groups & audiences with common connections, so people jumped on the sharing wagon more easily, but Dove entered a less connected group of networks with a more diverse audience, so its momentum was shaped in a more less ample way, which leads us to the next characteristic:

Modularity – how much is the group made up of subgroups/fragmented and how much is modular(political affiliation). That also influences the virality – Turkish videos were shared by a highly modular community. The Dove one was more fragmented, having to make more jumps. Look at trends and ride one. If you don’t, you have no chance of viralizing your content.

Hatfield Groups – 30, male, into tech – shared by influencers first
Dove Groups – a mixture of teen girls, marketing professional women, and Saudi Arabia women – very diverse crowd

They concluded that a high demographic diversity leads to slower movement of the video, due to the number of jumps the content material has to make from one community to another. In the end, you need a trigger and a validator, then you need community connectors and emotion – funny, sad, astonishing. No emotion, no virality.

Validation in a community is done by the tone of voice of the biggest community KOLs that put the video out there. They are the gatekeepers that push the content in their groups and apparently one can detect them through Pulsar and engage them in a targeted way.

All in all, it was a very interesting meeting, with loads of conversations afterwards regarding the future of social media, on how kids interact with it and how education has to evolve and encapsulate it in the teaching methodology.

Photos via @JamesBougourd and @Fcancerproject

How to build a digital marketing plan / road-map / strategy

content-marketing-strategy-to-support-the-buying-cycleAny marketer should be able to answer this question any day, any time, anywhere. But it’s more than just looking at the business objectives, translating them into communication objectives, setting the KPIs, choosing the strategy and the channels, planning, (testing &) implementing, monitoring and reporting, plus the evaluation at the end of a campaign. While this straight-forward approach works for experienced marketers, I’ve found that people who have little or no practice require a bit more explaining on each point of the matter, focusing especially on strategies, tools and channels.

This is why I put together the list of tools, strategies and channel choice approaches mashed up from 4 sources that I have curated:

  1. Mashable suggests that digital teams formulate their messaging based on the brand story, the consumer sentiment and perception and trigger emotional connections with the brand. They also look at platform choice based on customer research, focusing on the places where users seek information or buy the product you are selling. Mobile and differentiation are key in this stage. Then, they focus on engagement calendars and consistency of the communication to create digital habits.
  2. Inc.com focus on testing messages, channels and strategies as you grow, on a compelling story that is share-able, on the exclusivity factor and influencer outreach.
  3. Smart Insights uses a mix of offline & online, suggesting meetups, events, a consistent content factory and participation in trade competitions (startup competitions, for example). Although these points may appear to be free or low cost, you must take into consideration the time invested in both researching and in creating quality content for each channel & relationships with the said influencers.
  4. A Forbes piece talks about naming, content and Search Engine Optimization (the PR driven one, not the “get links at all cost” one) and about integrating paid marketing in your mix.
  5. Strategy-Business.com article focuses on 4 digital marketing models, capabilities and showcases practical examples from Coca Cola, Virgin, Walmart, P&G and Henkel. From their point of view, the CMO must create the right capabilities and activate them to run successful campaigns.

An this is why I linked 3 free different templates that marketers can use to create their own digital strategy:

  1. This Smart Insights plan – more like a checklist for planning, preceded by more of the same topics I’ve covered here.
  2. The Web Strategy Planning Template – a tool which helps you translate objectives into actionable items
  3. The Digitia guide to creating your digital strategy – road-map from market to results, with examples and suggestions for each step.

If that isn’t enough, take a look at Hubspot’s 20 slide marketer mash-up for more inspiration.

Image source

How Snapchat snapped with its misleading claims

SnapchatLogoSnapchat, the service teens were using like crazy months ago and was almost bought by Google and Facebook, is now struggling to recover from a FTC settlement regarding its misleading communications with its users. They claimed that the pictures, videos & texts disappear immediately after the timer has expired, yet failed to provide sufficient safety mechanism to prevent print screens or screen captures by third party applications. For this reason, the FTC has imposed that they would have to run a security screening (paywall) program for the next 20 years. This is particularly funny because few analysts give Snapchat any chance of survival in the long run after this massive mess created by this FTC intervention.

Given that they already faced backlash due to a Contacts bug, exposing 4.6 million usernames & phone numbers, I don’t see them making much in the next 6 months, unless they radically change. Seems their CEO should have accepted Facebook’s 3 billion back in 2013.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Why Romania is a better base for tech and social media projects

KA-SAT_spot_beams_coverageRecently, Bloomberg did an extensive piece on how Romania is now a place where IT salaries have risen five fold since 2006. While this is good for the people working there and is in line with the fact that Romania has acceded into the EU, if the trend continues, wages will become a deterrent for new ventures, conversions or expansions of IT services.

Reporters at Bloomberg said that 12,000 Romanians work for the biggest 25 technology companies in the country and Oracle is the largest employer, according to Finance Ministry data. The number is still small, if you compare it to the UK market, where just over 1 million people work in information technology related jobs.

From my point of view, it’s not the salaries that the companies should look at when switching base from, for example, UK to Romania, but at something more key to the job itself – internet connection and infrastructure costs.

A decent broadband connection in Romania can start from just under 50 Eur, while one in the UK will start giving you headaches when the bill rolls in every month. What’s more, for every pound paid you’ll get less speed than for the euro paid in Romania and there will be times where you wish your pages would just load so you can post that reply or upload that module to the SaaS your business relies on.

Event if you might run into administrative delays or issues with the state representatives, the amount of work that an internet dependent company (shouldn’t they all be dependent now?) can do within the 8 hours/day traditional time frame is significantly higher.

It’s all a matter of infrastructure, from where I see it, because a happy web programmer and a happy social media person share the same trait – their internet is fast.

p.s. the longest wait when I wrote this was when I had to upload the Wikipedia image

Barrick and Newmont merger: What does that mean for Europe?

goldThere’s a lot of discussion in the financial world about the potential merger between the Barrick and Newmont, top two gold giants. FT said their combined output would place them in a position three times higher than AngloGold Ashanti, the third largest gold producer in the world.

It’s a stake of $0.5-1 bln synergy, a trial to reclaim shareholder value, to bounce back from the 60% drop they have seen in their stock charts. The drop is mainly due to the fact that gold prices have dropped below cash costs ever since early 2013 and have failed to rise in a consistent way even with the Ukrainian instability. But there’s something more to the merger than I’ve read in all articles.

The executives at both companies are quoted by journalists and analysts as being extremely Americas, Africa & Australasia focused. None of them have even mentioned the two companies’ investments in Europe, which is not a surprise, given the fact that they have no major direct stake in any of Europe’s largest exploration or operating vehicles. I only know of Barrick’s investment in Carpathian Gold (later acquired by Eldorado Gold) and Newmont’s in Gabriel Resources.

Other European operations are run by Agnico Eagle (Finland), Ortac Resources (Slovakia), Boliden (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ireland), Dalradian Resources (Northern Ireland), EMED Mining (Slovakia), Orvana (Spain), Nordic Mines (Sweden), Eldorado (Turkey, Greece, Romania).

Will we see more movement in Europe after the giant merger? Or will they decide to divest and refocus on their traditional grounds?

Image source

Brands should whisper more

Last week, I stumbled upon a very interesting and rising anonymous, geo-location, text & picture based social network called Whisper. At first you might think it’s just a place for teenage rants, weirdos, shameful confessions, but it’s not.

whisper

A brand with the wit and the courage could go to Whisper and test products, test copy, get feedback, launch a new service or just brag a little. Here are strategies that could work.

Fashion brand for teens – cool and hip statements, true or not and confession games, quotes

Tech brands – post your latest gadget whispers

Industrials – whisper about the little things that make life work, like gas for your car, metals for your computer, watch, dishes, a “did you know that” campaign.

Want more? Drop me a line.