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

Our first session of the Rising Voice in Social Media kicked off yesterday. , Associate Director – Social Media at Tamar (and hardcore Eva Longoria Parker fan) talked our delegates through how to get the most out of blogging and Twitter, with some case studies and best practice examples.

Simon Daglish vice president of Fox Interactive Media was interviewed by , senior PR and marketing manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) about how to engage with your audience within social media and the importance of keeping them captivated. Simon was asked questions such as; whether it is better to engage the user instead of chasing the last click, do clients still require proof to use social media? and should measurement be bespoke per campaign? He also gave some useful advice for managing friends and fans in social networks.

Watch the below video to see the full interview…

By Tony Effik, chief strategy officer, Publicis Modem

IAB SM logo for blog(Not necessarily the loudest!) Do you, like me, sometimes tire of all the noise in social media? As a group dedicated to the promotion of social media, we’re actually faced with quite a dilemma. Do we add to the hyperbole surrounding the discipline, while the substance suffers, or do we work together to contribute to a genuine future for social media? I think we’re all agreed on the latter.

Which is why we’ve launched an initiative that’s purely dedicated to nurturing new talent – a practitioner programme for new starters, cutting through the hype and educating them about the realities of social media.  You can book here to be a part of it, (unless places have been booked up already!)

As mentioned in my interview with the IAB previously, we have now set up the framework for the practitioner course, a first for the SMC council, starting on 19th April.  The programme will cover key areas such as the definitions of social media, challenges of measurement, how to evaluate a campaign, measuring the importance of online engagement, brand and reputation management, social media display-planning and buying, legal regulations and privacy issues. The course will be spread over a series of five sessions all lasting 2 hours each, with a graduation (party!) on 12 August.

The main reason for creating this credential is because we believe as a council that it is vital to support young talent within social media in order for the business to mature and go from strength to strength. Our core objective in creating this course is to ‘turn the inexperienced into real experts within the social media space’ providing them with a clear perspective of what it’s really like to work within this side of the industry. Various IAB SMC members such as Tamar, RMM, We Are Social and have joined forces to produce a diverse curriculum for the delegates in order to achieve this.

Throughout the course the attendees will be expected to complete work outside the class room as well as blog about their learning process.  Those delegates that complete the certificate will be awarded with a ‘Rising Voice in Social Media’ badge to showcase on their own blog once they have graduated.

The course is free for all IAB members and UK advertisers and spaces are going fast. Alternatively email to book your place!

By Amy Kean, senior PR and marketing manager, IAB. .

Sorry for the slightly inappropriate headline, but it’s based on , written in defense of the new fancy Uniqlo exercise, which appears to have received mixed reviews. Not from the general public, obviously (I doubt they care that much) but from us folks who work in digital, or more specifically social media.

In case you haven’t seen it, you enter your Twitter name into the snazzy red and white page and it provides you with a Tweet Show, displaying all your recent tweets and replies in time to a piece of rather odd music.  , it’s nothing groundbreaking, but for what it’s worth having watched the show until the end I think it’s pretty and am more aware of Uniqlo and their new range of tshirts than before. I’m even thinking about buying one. What’s your view? Do you like it? Does there need to be an element of stickyness to keep you coming back? Does that even matter?


Read more…

By Amy Kean, senior PR and marketing manager, IAB.


milkYesterday we (the IAB) released the latest results from our biannual online adspend report with PwC, and it’s fantastic news.

Numerous analysts predicted that the medium was set to experience a decline in revenues in 2009, with others believing it would remain static at best. In reality online adspend actually grew 4.2% throughout last year, topping just over £3.54 billion.

But what does this mean, I hear you cry? Well let’s refrain from comparing online with other media for a second, and instead look at it in the context of the wider UK economy. We’ve done our research, and it turns out that the online advertising market, at £3.5 billion, is the same size as the UK dairy industry.


Even more interesting? It’s the same size as the UK commercial sandwich industry. So there you have it fact fans, online is also as essential to the economy as BLTs. (But not the side orders like salad, Kettle Chips, Branston Pickle etc.)

Whilst in other media outlets we talk about the breakdown of the different formats (search, classifieds and display) and what sectors are spending the most in online, my favourite stat from this report is a secret one that I’ve saved for this blog, and one that we chose not to include in the press release.

Much has been made about the growth of social networks and the significant part they play in the digital economy, but until now the IAB has never really had much data to back this up within the PwC study. However in 2009 we have been able to estimate that social networks and community sites in the UK now represent around 9.3% of all online display – an impressive figure, given that a few years ago, it probably would have been pretty non-existent! So there’s the proof, social media contributes significantly to online ad revenues, it’s growing, and no doubt we can look forward to it getting bigger and better next year.

By ,  Sales Group Head, .

craig blog photoThere through choice? Yes.  Loyal? Yes. ENGAGED? YES.  Social Media users are arguably the most lent forward of all those online, real people logging into their own space online, adding that extra level of potential Engagement for brands, not achievable through other platforms.  So, advertisers are embracing this and spending huge amounts of Sponsorship/Engagement budget in Social Media, right? Not really.

Social Media is to online, what Cinema is to broadcast, it is the part of the online mix that can really help drive consideration, awareness, propensity etc with a captivated audience, all very valuable measures, some of which seem to have been forgotten in this age of clicks and acquisitions.

I am not saying that online can’t do a fantastic direct response job, we all know it can, this too is an area that needs a marketers attention.  But now is the time to undo some of that damage you may have done to your brand equity by placing a standard banner within a social network, and then only measuring success by click through rates.  There is a whole depth to its effect that is often ignored.

Vodafone, Unilever, COI, are a few of the brands that understand Social Media is ‘not just for Christmas’ and increasingly brands are getting the idea that these are not impression farms but communities brimful of real people, I am loving the Marmite’ election’ campaign that has just been announced.  Real people need to be entertained, enticed, emotionally stimulated, all the things we would expect when paying for a ticket to the Cinema, or for a gig by one of your favourite artists, and like voting for the Tories, Lib Dems or Labour, deciding whether you ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ is a decision not to be taken lightly.

by Harriet Clarke, communications executive, IAB

Tony Effik

Tony Effik

is chief strategy officer at Publics Modem, and became chair of the social media council in November 2009 taking over from Lloyd Salmon, founder of Outside Line. I interviewed Tony to find out his future plans for the council, his feelings on its biggest achievements and his thoughts on the social media industry at the moment.

Why do you think the social media council is so important for the industry?
The social media industry can be a bit like Wild West terrain at times, with new comers occasionally entering into the industry under false pretence of a world full of ‘gold and riches’. Because of this misunderstood perception of the industry it can sometimes attract the wrong type of person. I think it is important for the SMC to work towards demystifying the discipline and achieving transparency, making it easier for new starters. I think this is crucial to maintain growth within the business.

What are your major aims and achievements for the next 12 months?
I am now a quarter of the way through my time as chair and in the first 3 months we have built a solid working structure for the council through establishing clear working groups and appointing ambassadors to manage these groups. Alongside this, we have also completed research into social media budgets which gives us a clearer understanding of where things need to go next and what needs to be done to achieve this. We have also finalised the framework of the practitioner course, a 2 hour session every 5 months aimed at new comers to nurture new talent.

Where would you like to see the council in the next 6-9 months?
Ideally it would be great if in the next 6-9 months the council could substantially aid transparency within the industry.  It would be good if the knowledge and the brain power we have amongst us could get shared throughout the business, so more cross industry collaborations could occur. It would also be great to release a standard model that had been created by the SMC.

Why do you feel there was a need to create ambassadors for separate topics?
Social Media is so big, there is no way one person can be an expert at everything. Each individual council member has specialist skills in separate social media areas,  and therefore I thought it would be best to unleash this expertise, it is also a good way of giving other members of the council recognition for the investment they make in the council.

How do you plan to further publicise the SMC within the industry?

We need to get the ambassadors out there. Talking, commenting, presenting, writing, and being interviewed. We need to do this in media that moves us out of our comfort zone.  That means concentrating on building relationships with a wider range of media, and maintaining  current relationships.

What is the council’s biggest achievement so far?
I think it would have to be the release of our recent research study which was conducted by research agency Opinion Matters. It showed the need for clarification over the role of social media and where it should fit within general business models, in order to make the most of the discipline. This research received a substantial amount of coverage within a lot of the major trade titles and online news sites, and was of real use to social media practitioners across the country. We hope to do this every year, and use it as a barometer of social media progress in the UK.

How do you feel the council can help the social media industry grow even further?
I think this can be achieved through creating a shared framework for the industry, promoting best practice and simplifying social media, making it easier to understand and less of a ‘scary’ prospect for those who are less experienced.

We need to create tools, and frameworks that become universal, and become standards. The more standards we create, and the more discipline we engender, the less of a Wild West frontier this all becomes. That will create growth.

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.