helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

by , senior PR and marketing manager, IAB

Following on from Henry’s blog post about Moira and Pam (which I swear to God is true, a friend of a friend who works at the BBC told me) we’re all about the #searchandsocialmedia at the moment. It’s becoming increasingly apparent when brands don’t have any control over (or knowledge of) what people are saying about them online, because it has an inevitable impact on their profile within the search listings.

In fact, in acknowledgment of this occasional short-sightedness, some brands can be quite quick to hop into their competitors search results pages. I feel bad for kicking them when they’re down, but Nestle have fallen victim to this with Greenpeace buying their name on Google (not Bing though, keep up guys!) because it’s a hot social media topic and search volumes have inevitably risen.  Their PPC has the search result headline ‘Take a Break’ with the description “Which chocolate company destroys rainforests for palm oil?” Read more…

, new business manager of skive was interviewed by the IAB’s senior PR and marketing manager about creativity within social media and all its touch points. He was asked various questions around this topic, his first being whether he thought social media was more platform or technology based, he addresses this question by mentioning the knowledge gaps within the industry, particularly agency side and that when you are immersed within the industry it is easy to overlook the fact that not everyone has the same level of knowledge about the subject area.  He says that brands in general are doing the basics, the well publicised social media platforms such as twitter and facebook are the platforms that brands utilise the most as these are the ones they know most about even though they may not be the greatest channel to talk to their consumers.

Ollerton discusses the need to have a strong marketing strategy in place to make the best use of the social media platforms available in order to generate the best results for the brand. Amy also asks questions regarding social media budgets and whether or not a lack of money has constraints on the campaign, he squashes this comment and says that it is all down to the creativity and that the simplest cheapest ideas can be the most effective ones. Ollerton talks about which brand campaign he thinks is the most creative and how the use of crowd sourcing can sometimes be regarded as lazy marketing however when used well and for the correct brand it can have outstanding results and achieve brand objectives.

Watch the below video to see the full interview…

By Nick Stringer, director of regulatory affairs at the IAB.

At the end of last year I wrote about the top priorities for digital media regulation in 2010. One of which was the industry’s extension of the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) into new areas digital media space.

Last week the advertising industry announced this extension. The aim of the proposals is to include areas of non-paid for space, such as marketing communications on advertisers’ own websites and within social media, within the ASA’s existing self-regulatory remit. ‘Traditional’ paid-for digital advertising (such as PPC search marketing, display, video, mobile etc) already falls within remit.

The announcement has been publicly welcomed by the Government and the Conservatives alike. This week, in response to the House of Commons Health Select Committee report on alcohol, the Government welcomed and encouraged “the action being taken by the regulators and industry in reviewing these areas.” And, also this week, speaking at ISBA’s annual conference, Conservative Media Spokesperson, Ed Vaizey, praised the move (he also signalled more government marketing online if the Conservatives win a General Election).

Making as bold and significant an announcement as this with few details to determine the potential impact may not be the ideal strategy, but given the level of recent political concern on marketing to children – particularly from the Conservative Party and Dr Linda Papadopoulos’ report for the Home Office – industry will need to understand why this was done now and to also agree the principle of taking this step.

So let’s start by outlining why this is a significant step for the internet and advertising, and why digital advertisers should welcome the extended self-regulatory rules:

1. We need to deliver the same level of consumer safeguards that exist for paid-for digital media in areas on non paid-for space. Internet users need to trust the media that they’re consuming.

2. We need to ensure that the likes of social media is trusted by marketers as well. This is vital for brands to continue their strong investment in the platform.

3. We’re by no means off the hook: we need to continue to reassure policy-makers that we can self-regulate. This is  particularly important in the digital media space where more formal regulation or even (dare I say it) legislation will restrict commercial innovation. Look at the mess we’re potentially facing with the Digital Economy Bill. Justin Pearce in NMA is absolutely right: we’re doing the right thing.

But – as always – the ‘devil is in the detail’ and these are industry proposals that need to be agreed and ratified by the rule-setting body, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The IAB also supports public scrutiny of these proposals so that the wider industry (and internet users themselves) can have a say. But the detail is where industry now needs to focus its attention. We have the momentum but, for social media, we need to agree what we consider is ‘in’ and what should be ‘out’. It won’t be easy and the IAB will deploy the greatest thinkers in social media to help us get this right.

By Harriet Clarke, communications executive, IAB


The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is offering one lucky winner the opportunity to shadow senior members of the IAB staff for 1 week between Monday 12th to Friday 16th July. The winner will get the opportunity to attend IAB events and meetings which will give them the chance to make vital contacts within the industry. They will also get to witness the day to day running of the trade body for the digital industry.

In order to win this very exciting placement, the entrant will need to to respond to the below brief which is running in conjunction with the 25th birthday of Levi’s iconic Launderette ad.

The Brief: Using the technology available today, how would you turn the advert above into a creative online campaign, using all available resources (social media, search, mobile, display etc)?

Entrants can respond to the brief in any way they feel appropriate, but finished work should reference the original campaign in some way. Entries should include a written response of between 300 and 500 words which includes:

- Your full name
- The university/college you are currently attending or your current employer
- A written summary of the campaign activity
- An explanation of how your campaign is an evolution from the original version
- An explanation of why your campaign deserves to win

Entrants are also invited to submit supporting graphical work if appropriate.

The entries will be judged by the IAB’s very own marketing director, .

Entries should emailed to

Closing date: 9am on 12th April

Please visit http: to find out information on all aspects of the new media industry and the career opportunities it offers. You can also find information on the Talent Taskforce, an IAB initiative to future proof the online and mobile industry by nurturing young talent.

For full terms and conditions please click here:

Fleur MD of Pass it On Media was interviewed by IAB’s senior PR and marketing manager, on social media influencers. This 10 minute video covers how to spot a worthwhile influencer, how influencers help campaigns and how they can be detrimental in a PR crisis. Fleur talks through the processes at Pass it On on how to recognize a worthwhile influencer, what tools they use for this and how important it is to keep an influencer fully involved with the campaign and be honest and transparent throughout the whole process in order to gain the best results.

At the end of the video Fleur also mentions her involvement with the IAB social media measurement sub group and how they are currently working towards setting actual usable metrics for the industry.

By , Associate Director – Social Media, Tamar

Before I start this blog, I must apologise for both the tenuous nature of my analogy, and the actual origin of the story too. Both may make you chuckle, or they might simply make you wonder “What the hell was he searching for THAT for?” – but hopefully you can see past my eccentric search habits and make it through to the end of my story, for therein lies the gold… Read more…

by Rob Salmon, Director of Digital Marketing, Torchbox,

Did you watch any of the ski cross in the Winter Olympics? The one where four top class skiers line-up before racing down a rocking and a rolling rollercoaster of a track over bumps and jumps at blistering speeds in a quest to beat the rest and make it to the bottom first. Like a James Bond ski chase where you don’t know whose going to triumph. It was incredibly compelling content.

I made a point of watching as much as I could. I told my family. My friends. My workmates. Maybe they too went and watched and then told their circles.

So what relevance does this have to social media?

Well, if you want people to become a fan of your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter or share your iPhone app, I reckon you had better make sure it has a compelling content offer.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with a Winter Olympic discipline akin to watching paint dry. And I don’t think watching paint dry is ever going to command a large or highly engaged audience (although maybe this YouTube link which has been watched 33k time proves that wrong!?). Read more…

By Katie Streten, Imagination

There is a lot of discussion on blogs and in social media generally about Twitters slow and careful inching towards a revenue model. Most of the thought is that it will take the tried and tested advertising approach, and after all, it has worked well for Facebook so there is no reason Twitter wouldn’t benefit in a similar way. Twitter has a simple mechanic that allows trend and conversation tracking and the potential is that this will deliver the possibility of highly targeted advertising from brands in much the same way that Facebook does. The key difference between the two would be that Facebook’s advertising is based on the demographic and life stage data their users provide the network with and Twitter’s would focus not on demographics but on moments of interest, conversations. And in fact Twitter’s ability to model and deliver based on conversation would be far more powerful than Facebook’s model – after all, simply because I am a 45 year old mother of three doesn’t mean I am not going to be highly interested in paintballing in the New Forest, and yet this may only be the interest of a weekend, a day, an hour. Identity is more fluid than demographics allow and the ability to talk to users in real time moments of decision would be incredibly powerful for any advertiser. Read more…

By Harriet Clarke, IAB

Mobile creativity has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. There are great examples of creativity in the mobile space, whether it’s been through apps or general mobile campaigns. At the IAB we’ve even decided to set up a Creative Showcase award dedicated to mobile (more on that in the next week or so, watch this space!). One of these reasons is because WE NEED MORE CASE STUDIES! We know social media on mobile is big, but there needs to be more proof… Read more…

Amy Kean, senior PR and marketing manager, IAB.

The results of an IAB and Opinion Matters survey amongst brands appeared in Marketing Mag today under the headline ‘Major Brands Sceptical of Social Media’. The article presents a few stats from the study, which investigated the views of 80 senior-level marketers.  These included the fact that almost a quarter (22%) of brands have made social media a core part of their communications strategy, whilst our research found that only 7% of respondents haven’t yet embraced social media in any way. Read more…