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Unscrambling the Myths about Social Media
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Unscrambling the Myths about Social Media


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Social media has transformed the speed at which consumers demand marketers respond to their needs. It’s imperative for brands to be agile—to adapt to consumers’ dynamic behaviors and synchronize with …

Social media has transformed the speed at which consumers demand marketers respond to their needs. It’s imperative for brands to be agile—to adapt to consumers’ dynamic behaviors and synchronize with culture. Read, download and share our report that helps brands stay in sync with shifting online habits.

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  • 1. @sparksandhoney
  • 2. Staying in sync with culture Social media has transformed the way we communicate, how we consume content, and the speed at which we demand marketers respond to our needs. Today, it’s imperative for brands to be agile – to adapt to consumers’ dynamic behaviors and synchronize with culture. Brands that can’t provide real-time, relevant content and experiences will become obsolete. In our mission to leverage cultural insights to elevate brands’ efforts in all aspects of marketing and innovation, we have unscrambled the myths about social media to help you stay in sync with shifting online habits.
  • 3. My 18-year-old texts like I do.
  • 4. Emoji Tracker, a real-time tool that tracks the number of everyone’s favorite Japanese emoticons being used on Twitter, is proof that worldwide emoji use has reached stratospheric levels. The top emojis on Twitter at the time of writing are: 288,625,322 mentions 33,016,067 mentions 19,692,028 mentions. Source: Earlier this year, freelance journalist, Fletcher Babb, received death threats in the form of emojis for his investigation into Instagram’s widening black market of illegal prescription drugs. This led law enforcement to rethink the unexplored territory of emoticons in cyberlaw. As millennials adopt emojis as their primary language, a gap in communications between Generation Y and the rest of the population will widen. Code-switching will evolve into a full-blown generational language gap. Millennials communicate in emojis, a visual vernacular that conveys humor, ambiguity, personality and meaning.
  • 5. Instagram is just for sharing pics.
  • 6. Small retailers generated anywhere between 25-40% of daily sales via Instagram while larger retail brands are leveraging the platform to promote and preview new products, and host photo contests that require participants to purchase a product to participate. Source:; Traditional brick-and-mortar retail will die away as we move towards the world on sale. Imagine a Manhattan with no retail stores, but every object capable of being identified, selected and purchased on demand; or hotels where shops and accommodations are one and the same. In many markets, it’s a burgeoning e-commerce platform.
  • 7. Social media is for the young.
  • 8. Facebook’s most substantial growth in 2013 came from those in the senior set, with 45% of people age 65+ now using the platform, up from 35% in 2012. Source: On Twitter, the 55-64 bracket is the fastest growing, with a 79% increase since 2012, while the fastest growth on both Facebook and Google+ is with 45 to 54 year olds. Source: GlobalWebIndexStudy The social space will explode with new networks targeting specific demographics. Expect to see niche platforms with user experiences tailored for babies, geriatrics, and everyone in between. Multiple “internets” may emerge as a result of this, each with its own audiences, social norms, and coded dialects. It’s thanks to grandma that Facebook was the dominant social network in 2013.
  • 9. Twitter serves as a primary second screen platform during Live TV events.
  • 10. According to Trendrr, a Social TV Analytics platform, Facebook boasts 5x more social TV activity than Twitter, with strengths around news programming, Hispanic programming and live sporting events. The idea of the “second screen” will fade away as augmented reality overlays in the form of lenses and glasses gain popularity. This form of connection will be more impactful and engaging, but also more invasive. When brands abuse this space, expect more intense backlash than found on traditional social platforms. Limited by the private nature of its data, Facebook has received little credit for driving social TV activity and show ratings. However, recent studies reveal that Facebook outpaces all other social networks in second screen activity.
  • 11. Twitter is a reliable barometer of broader public opinion.
  • 12. Twitter serves as a statistically unsound proxy for the broader country, skewing young (45% are 18-29, more than double that age group’s share of the overall population), educated (40% have a Bachelor’s Degree vs. 20% of the overall population) and affluent (48% earn $75,000+ vs. 39% of the overall population). Source: Pew Research Center Ubiquitous tracking, sharing, and computing will turn social platforms (and their data) into actual measures of a population. At any time, users will be able to analyze the entire world’s data for answers to any questions they might have. Due to this development, political and marketing interests in social networks will only continue grow. Twitter’s skewed demographics make it an inaccurate indicator.
  • 13. Google+ is a ghost town that doesn’t really matter.
  • 14. The number of Google +1s is the second strongest organic search ranking factor after “Page Authority,” with a 0.30 correlation. Source: SEOmoz 2013 Search Ranking Factors Study Search ads with Google +1 annotations generate a 5-10% uplift in click-through rate. Source: Google AdWords Google+ will aggregate not only humans, but also the human-like, ultimately becoming the first post-human social network. This platform will connect robots, emotional smart appliances, and the vast array of devices formerly known as the internet of things. Because of Google’s dominance in search, Google+ plays an integral role in determining your brand’s search ranking.
  • 15. Internet users only use traditional search engines for discovery.
  • 16. Twitter handles more search queries per month – 32 billion – more than Bing and Yahoo! combined. Source: Pinterest search actually beats Google image search by providing more actionable results and more digestible information quickly. Source: Visual search will become the norm due to the increase in wearable augemented reality devices, and a new search king will emerge to overtake traditional search engines. The second largest search engine is actually a social network—YouTube—and it’s bigger than Bing, Ask, AOL and Yahoo! combined.
  • 17. My brand needs to be on every social network.
  • 18. Every social network has different uses and benefits. For example, Instagram is best for visual lifestyle brands that can post authentic, real-time photos regularly, while Pinterest is best for brands that already have a rich, image-based website from which photos can be pinned. Instead of spreading content across multiple channels, brands of the future may focus exclusively on one channel and become synonymous with it. As a result, we’ll see brands acting more like VCs, supporting symbiotic channels with financial backing. Brands must pick the ideal social networks to reach and impact their unique target.
  • 19. People primarily prefer to engage with snackable content.
  • 20. Two-thirds of time spent on a webpage is “below the fold.” Source: Chartbeat Nearly 40% of time spent watching online videos consists of long-form viewing. Source: Ooyala’s Global Video Index Report Content will be as long or short as a reader likes. Looking for today’s newspaper summed up in one word? Just collapse the text for summation. It’s not the length of your content, but what you say with it.
  • 21. Facebook hashtags turbo charge viral reach.
  • 22. On average, posts with hashtags generated a median viral reach per fan of 0.8% versus 1.3% for posts without hashtags. Source: Edgerank Checker Study On Facebook, hashtags are primarily used in promotional material and are therefore likely to drive less engagement. Source: Edgerank Checker Study Real-time tools will wordsmith your writing for optimal shareability as you type, making your every sentence “upworthy.” Hashtags do nothing to generate additional exposure and are limited by Facebook users’ privacy settings.
  • 23. Watching TV online is more popular than watching live- streamed game play.
  • 24. Twitch reports 12 billion minutes watched per month, over 45 million unique viewers per month, 900,000 broadcasters per month, and 6 million total videos broadcasted per month. Twitch users watch an average 106 minutes of content per day. Professional gaming will reach more and more fans, while exploding into micro-niches. Expect microsuperstars to emerge: the world’s best flappy-bird player, the world’s most talented candy crush master, the world’s fastest Mario platformer and more. Each month millions of visitors go to Twitch, a broadcasting gaming video platform to watch other users play games.
  • 25. sparks & honey is a data-driven advertising newsroom that helps synchronize brands with culture. Leveraging our proprietary Cultural Strategy tools like Cultural Listening and Platform Mapping, we monitor and score content energy levels, project their lifespan and analyze their cultural resonance. These tools allows us to develop cultural insights that drive social content development, marketing strategy, and long-term planning. About Us Named Ad Age’s Top 10 Agencies to Watch 2014