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Ipsos_Connect_More_than_words_TP_Oct_16

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Ipsos_Connect_More_than_words_TP_Oct_16

  1. 1. MORE THAN WORDS HARNESSING THE LANGUAGE OF IMAGES ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS Thought Piece 2016
  2. 2. emoticons or stickers are sent around the world everyday 6 billion on mobile messaging apps Source: DIGIDAY UK – ‘Emojis by the numbers: A Digiday data dump’ Original story is here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police- ieshiaevans-photographer-idUSKCN0ZS00D Visual vocabulary has exploded across our screens over the last few years. Whilst reading words is still fundamental for how we communicate, a picture really can tell a thousand words, and this opens up even more opportunities for brands to communicate with consumers. This change in communication is reflected in the rise of image-focused social media, together with the way that existing social media channels are used; and in turn, how consumers communicate with each other, as well as how brands communicate to consumers. Emojis are swiftly becoming the fastest growing language across social media channels with 6 billion emoticons or stickers being sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps.¹ Emojis are used in almost half of all sentences on Instagram² and are now used by Facebook as supplements to the ‘LIKE’ button. The relatively recent shift to a more visual, two-way conversation has meant that social media platforms are forcing brands to learn a new visual literacy to continuingly connect with their audiences. It could be argued that images are the most powerful medium for sharing experiences. The shareability of images is fast-paced and more often than not, taps into the current cultural zeitgeist and vice versa – who can forget the time Kim Kardashian broke the internet with her bum, with the image having been retweeted about 70,000 times within just a couple of hours. Also, who’d have thought a woman trying on a Chewbacca mask would be one of the most-watched videos (over 50m views, May 2016) on Facebook Live?! Sometimes an image can become a powerful representation of a particular historic moment in time that forces us to stop and think in a way that words can struggle to articulate e.g. the ‘I am a vessel’ photo of a Baton Rouge: Black Lives Matter protestor, which went viral extremely quickly and tells the story of a significant event in a single image. While the sharing of images and shift to a visual vocabulary has made it easier to decode the world around us, it also comes with challenges for brands and marketers of how to harness social platforms in creative ways to effectively communicate with consumers using visuals.
  3. 3. Instagram has attracted 500 million active users since 2010 with 95 million uploads and 4.2 billion likes per day on average people are posting photos with the brands’ logo in it, in order to measure brand penetration. Not only does social intelligence allow us to add structure to unstructured data, it also provides brands with the cultural context needed to remain relevant by observing current trends and behaviours across social media. Another example of how we can use our social intelligence framework is as a supplement to, or extension of, qualitative research. For example, we can conduct a type of digital ethnography, looking and learning from people’s photos about certain topics; perhaps before or after a focus group to gain context and understand what branded photos people are posting. This is extremely useful, both in terms of saving time in focus groups and adding an extra layer of analysis and insight to a project. With the rapid rise of visual language, it is becoming increasingly important for both researchers and brands to understand how to unpick and analyse this new vocabulary; deconstructing the discourse, to stay ahead of the curve. This also holds a great opportunity for market research to increasingly integrate semiotics into the analysis and coding of images within social media and beyond, as a way to help explore cultural and societal shifts. What is apparent is that whilst there is an abundance of qualitative data about traditional media, there is an imbalance of the qual data available for social media. Sure, hard stats can be found but deeper knowledge on audience motivations, need states and passions is lacking. We have found our Censydiam framework helpful to unpick this. Censydiam is our method to help unlock the path to creating relevant and meaningful brands; the approach starts with understanding the needs and motivations of people and it provides clients with a compass on how they can connect their brands with these deeper human motivations. So, how can brands and media owners ensure they deliver the most impactful content and campaigns on the most suitable platform at exactly the right time to engage consumers? The answer lies in the tailoring of content across platforms and ensuring campaigns are culturally relevant on both a global and local scale. To start with, understanding audiences’ needs of each platform is integral for brands and marketers to harness the unique ecosystem of each. This is where research plays a fundamental role. It may sound obvious but consumers use each platform in different ways for different things. While Twitter may be used to keep up to date with news, advice and networking; Facebook for staying in touch with friends; it is Instagram that has got brands fretting about how to talk to their audience. Instagram is not Facebook or Twitter and brands must not treat it as such. Since launching in 2010, Instagram has attracted 500 million active users³ with 95 million uploads and 4.2 billion “likes” recorded on an average day. It’s clear to see why brands want to tap into this fast-growing ecosystem of inspiring, cool and creative content. Here at Ipsos, we use social intelligence, the analysis and synthesis of social data, to enhance and complement our primary research. As communication using visuals increases on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and even Twitter, there is a huge need for, not just social listening using words, but visual listening too. As part of our offering we are able to go beyond the analysis of text-based social listening and analyse brand imagery in social media posts. For example, if a brand wants to understand what creative is resonating with consumers, in the lead up to a campaign release, we can analyse how often
  4. 4. DIMENSION DIMENSION SOCIAL PERSONALRECOGNITION VITALITY ENJOYMENT CONVIVIALITY BELONGINGPOWER CONTROL SECURITY towards an individual or small group. As such, it’s one of the least visible types of sharing and it’s easy to underestimate how frequently people share in this way. Whereas, image-based platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram tend to lean slightly more towards the Recognition side of the spectrum, mainly because this type of sharing encompasses an attempt to make a splash on social media, or show the best side of oneself. We found that when brands share, they often do so to make a big impact. This is because the ultimate objective of their ‘share’ is to gain as much attention and to get as many people to notice them as possible. Consumers can be suspicious of this type of Power behaviour, especially content that is posted directly by brands. Therefore, the best way for brands to enter social media can be to get actual consumers or social Influencers to share their content. In our research on branded content, looking at influencers and engagers (Ipsos MORI, Social Influencers study 2016) we found that motivations are similar for sharing both personal and branded content. For example, a piece of branded content is more likely to be shared if it is of personal relevance to the user or will help them to connect with others. However, as you would expect, motivations for sharing on social media platforms vary, because these platforms fulfil different needs for users. Therefore, brands must think carefully about what content will work on each platform in order to remain relevant. Tongue-in-cheek Paddy Power material might not be sharable on Facebook for fear of offending Grandma, but may be ok to share with mates on Snapchat or WhatsApp. The downfall of many brands’ social media strategy is that they either rehash the same content across platforms or treat each platform as if it were used in exactly the same way by everyone i.e. using Instagram to share in the moment statuses like you would do with Twitter. Successful brands alter their content, objectives and tone of voice for each channel, while ensuring they retain an overarching personality. In a recent review of social media sharing; using this motivational framework, we found that the vast majority of sharing takes places within the core Censydiam motivations of Conviviality, Enjoyment and Belonging as opposed to Power and Control. The motivation behind the majority of shares is to connect with a particular individual or group, not, as may be expected, to ‘projective share’; shout something obvious about yourself across social media (Social Media Sharing: Your invitation to the online conversation: October 2014). Interestingly, Convivial sharing, or sharing that makes a personal connection, will often take place in private channels, such as messaging. When posted publically it will nearly always be specifically directed CENSYDIAM FRAMEWORK (participant) I will only share this if I think it is something which I want others to see. If I think it may not be to people’s taste, I will not share it.
  5. 5. INSPIRE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY AND TELL CULTURALLY RELEVANT STORIES There are many brands that have effectively harnessed Instagram’s unique traits of creativity, expression and inspiration, and Airbnb has to be up there with the best of them. Not only does Airbnb use the visual platform to curate and create wonder and awe amongst its followers, they also strive to keep community at the heart of their Instagram account with a high proportion of user-generated photos. Users of Instagram are searching for visual experiences that excite and delight and Airbnb doesn’t disappoint. Airbnb successfully taps into the Censydiam need state and motivation for consumers to belong to a community; in spite of having a global following of 1.1 million, by harnessing the power of consumers’ photos, the brand manages to feel both local and culturally relevant. There’s a reason why National Geographic has gained nearly 50+ million followers and has established themselves as one of the most engaging Instagram brands in the world; they post beautiful, inspiring photos from contributors around the world that evoke emotion. For a brand founded in the 1800s, originally known for its print magazines, National Geographic has adapted to keep up with marketing while still retaining its consistent brand image and experience. With the relatively recent introduction of Instagram’s new algorithm (April 2016), which means users’ timelines will no longer feature the most recent posts first; brands and advertisers run the risk of losing out on organically appearing in users’ feeds. Brands need to work harder than ever to capture their audiences’ attention by investing in an Instagram strategy to guarantee their content is seen through ads. Be bold, creative and unique and true to the brand to stay on top. However, a more cost effective way to increase engagement and grow a brands community could be to hand over control of social media channels to influencers and vloggers as content creators and brand ambassadors. Nespresso recently launched their Instagram influencer US marketing campaign with great effect; choosing influencers that fit the brands aesthetic, promoting good taste and elegance. Influencers bring with them a loyal audience who will probably be more likely to pay attention to a brand if the content is from a source they know and trust. Instagram’s new algorithm will ultimately prioritise quality of posts and engagement, so partnering with influencers could help brands reach their target audience without solely relying on ads. This month (August 2016) has seen yet another update from Instagram, which brands need to take into consideration: Instagram Stories; a new feature that allows people to post a collection of photos and videos in story format, lasting just 24 hours… near identical to Snapchat Stories. If you can’t beat them, copy them, right?! While Instagram Stories may be causing some confusion among people, who had originally categorised all their social media platforms and understood the clear role for each, this new feature could bring with it a wealth of creative advertising opportunities for brands. Yes, brands will need to work even harder to capture and maintain audiences’ attention, while remaining consistent with their message, but the fleeting nature of the moments means that brands won’t have to worry as much about posts publically underperforming or over- posting content.
  6. 6. Alice Ellen Alice.Ellen@ipsos.com +44 (0203) 059 4779 SENIOR RESEARCH EXECUTIVE FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Alice is a Senior Research Executive within our Ipsos Connect Closer team, and is a highly skilled qualitative researcher with a background in Cultural Studies and Sociology. She has a keen interest in how brands can effectively harness social media to be culturally relevant. SOURCES 1 http://digiday.com/brands/digiday-guide-things-emoji/ 2 http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151012-will-emoji- become-a-new-language 3 http://blog.instagram.com/post/146255204757/160621-news SO, WHAT DO BRANDS NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL ACROSS THE FULL RANGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS? 1. Tailor content to fit the platform: remember, the use of social media is constantly evolving and each platform fulfils different needs for consumers. Think platform and need state first to ensure content is always relevant and cuts through the noise of competitors. 2. Harness social media platforms in creative visual ways to effectively communicate with consumers: tap into the ever increasing visual vocabulary trend by ensuring images are powerful, inspiring, current and consistent in look and feel. Think both globally and locally when creating content, in order to remain culturally relevant. 3. Tone of voice can differ by platform, but brand values and personality must remain consistent and authentic: as mentioned previously, Instagram is not Facebook or Twitter, and a brands’ tone of voice must reflect how consumers are using the platform. However, consumers do need to be able to glance at a brand and recognise its personality immediately in order for it to stay top of mind. 4. Avoid getting lost in a sea of algorithms by investing in a social media strategy and partnering with Influencers: capturing audiences’ attention is only going to become increasingly difficult across platforms. The first step is to take social seriously within your business, dedicating resources to build a strong, and future-facing social media strategy. Then, if budget allows, don’t’ forgot to harness the power of the Influencers who impact the zeitgeist of social media usage, but be sure to allow them the creative freedom to push the boundaries for your brand.
  7. 7. ABOUT IPSOS CONNECT Ipsos Connect are experts in brand, media, content and communications research. We help brands and media owners to reach and engage audiences in today’s hyper-competitive media environment. Our services include: • Brand Campaign Performance: Evaluation and optimisation of in-market activities to drive communications effectiveness and brand growth. • Content and Communications Development: Communications, content and creative development from early stage idea development through to quantitative pre-testing alongside media touchpoint planning. • Media Measurement: Audience measurement and understanding. Ipsos Connect are specialists in people-based insight, employing qualitative and quantitative techniques including surveys, neuro, observation, social media and other data sources. Our philosophy and framework centre on building successful businesses through understanding brands, media, content and communications at the point of impact with people.

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