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

By Nick Stringer, Director of Regulatory Affairs, IAB

This week the IAB hosted an event on ‘How to be safe and social’ to explore how brands and consumers are protected when engaging in social media. This follows research from the IAB and ISBA that found that only 55% of UK brands currently have a social media policy with many also cautious about the perceived lack of control they face when using social and embarking upon real-time conversations with consumers.

We welcomed four excellent speakers: from Reputation Online; Malcolm Phillips from the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) – the industry body that writes the self-regulatory rules; Ashley Hurst from legal firm, Olswang; and from Betfair. The discussion was timely, as on 1 March, the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) extended digital remit goes live, bringing marketing communications within websites and social media into the existing self-regulatory advertising system. The discussion was also lively, particularly within the where there was a wide range of views on whether the ASA’s extended digital remit is a good thing or not. You can see the presentations from the event here.

The IAB believes it is a good thing. As we’ve said before, it is good for consumers and it is good for business – preserving the integrity of social media allowing it to continue to grow as a marketing platform. The very nature of the media will always mean that there will be grey areas (the ‘retweeting’ one seemed to be the most talked about) and we enter unchartered waters for digital media self-regulation. It is also good that the very nature of the media means that broader industry and the ASA will be able to listen to everyone’s views, debate the issues and get self-regulation right. Underpinned by the legal framework, the ASA system helps fill in the gaps, is flexible and a more cost-effective way of resolving disputes (than the courts): we should work with it.

You can read the IAB’s new guide to digital advertising regulations here, our FAQs specifically on the extended digital remit and / or visit CAP’s Copy Advice service (which includes a website audit at a very reasonable price!).

Follow the and / or .

By , Communications Executive, IAB

The debate about social media measurement has been running for as long as we in the IAB Social Media Council can remember (which either means that it’s a significant industry issue OR our excessive dependency on social networks has destroyed our long-term memories, I’d go for the former).

The on-going discussions are based on a number of key questions. Can social media activity be evaluated in the same way as other, more traditional techniques? If yes, which aspects should be measured? What measurement tools are available? Is it expensive? How time consuming is it? Once I have these results, what do they even mean? Difficult questions to answer, and perhaps a lesser group might flee at the prospect of attempting to bring some meaning to the measurement debate, but not the IAB.

The IAB social media council measurement sub group have launched their first initiative of 2011 – a guide to social media measurement and intent which addresses some of the hottest topics within the area and providing further insight on the IAB measurement framework, why it was created and how it works. The guide has been put together by council representatives from TMW, COI, Outside Line; We Are Social, NMIncite and Market Sentinel.

The document really emphasises the importance of objectives in social media, and how concrete intents are essential to bring about meaningful measurement. Inside, we offer an explanation on the differences between earned, owned and bought social media activity, the importance of social media monitoring and why you need to take the time to get to know your audience and your competitors. The guide also breaks down different types of social media focusing on the one size DOESN’T fit all ethos and that different brand/campaign objectives can mean there is a need for a different social media strategy approach to fit within these aims.  It also offers a dedicated section on what’s happening within customer services and social networking? offering suggested objectives, benchmarks and metrics to consider before embarking on customer service activity.

The guide has been written for both advertisers and agencies, and like any IAB Social Media Council initiative, we hope it evolves over time, so greatly value your feedback.

By , Director of Regulatory Affairs, IAB

Earlier this week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced its intention to extend its self-regulatory digital media remit from 1 March 2011. This will cover business’ own marketing communications on their own websites as well as in other non paid-for space under an advertiser’s control, such as social networking sites. All paid-for digital advertising, such as PPC search, display and (commercial) classified, is already covered by robust rules to protect consumers and promote trust within the sector.

What does this mean?


It means that the self-regulatory system for UK advertising is keeping pace with evolving digital marketing. The IAB has published a set of FAQs which provide further details on the extended remit. So what is really changing? The extended rules will toughen up on those that use these platforms to market age-restricted products, such as alcohol, as well as apply the existing food marketing rules. These are ‘thorny’ issues and so we should welcome this. The politicians certainly will. Chris Reed from PR and social media agency Brew Digital summed it all up very nicely: he concludes that “for most of us working in this space it should mean no change whatsoever.” He’s right. These new rules should not replace true self-regulation. Businesses should treat all marketing communications / ‘conversations’ with consumers as within remit to uphold the integrity of digital marketing. Read more…

Yesterday saw our final session on the IAB’s rising voice in social media course. The installment was rounded up with presentations from Nick Stringer, director of regulatory affairs at the IAB and , senior marketing manager at Skive. Nick took the delegates through why it’s important to be ‘safe’ in social media, covering the all important ASA remit extension that comes into place in Spring 2011. Tom Ollerton, senior marketing manager at Skive spoke about his opinions on whats next for social media with some great examples.
See below to view both presentations in full…

Another month, another ‘Rising Voice in Social Media’ session, this time based around the concept of earned social media.

, commercial director at Unruly Media, took us through how to use viral to drive word of mouth citing case study examples from Durex, Nike and The Sun. Catch the presentation below.

, Managing Director of Diffusion provided insights on reputation management, how the PR industry has been turned on its head due to social media, and how to successfully protect your brand online whilst remaining approachable. Daljit’s slides are available below.

Reputation Management

, managing director of We are Social spoke on social media and customer service, including the trials and tribulations that come with using social media as a customer service channel with some great examples of how to do it right.

, Associate Director-social media, Tamar

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Brand Building Through Search Guide

Recent announcements from Twitter on its decision to base its new sponsored-tweet model on results returned through search highlight the growing relationship between search and social media.  At the same time, Google and Facebook have made big changes recently that blur the line between ‘search’ and ‘social’. These changes- real-time search results in Google SERPs, Google Labs ‘social graph’ experiment, expansion of the ‘universal’ results being returned to users and so on – are focused on giving people more relevant results.

This has always been Google’s defining vision but Twitter and other services are fast becoming searchers’ first port of call when looking for emotional or opinion-based answers to their queries.

Keep updated on changes to  well  publicised sites like Twitter and Google, you also have to keep one eye on smaller, up-and-coming sites like Topsy and Collecta. Real-time dedicated search engines that crawl the social space for live opinion and news on any topic you could think of.

Here are our top-tips on how to keep yourself ahead of your competitors when it comes to social search:

•    Find and utilise a social monitoring platform/tool that suits your needs and use it regularly. One-off reports and 500-page dossiers aren’t going to help you in the fast-paced new world we live in.

•    As well as using sites like Twitter for your business, use them personally to keep your eye on industry news. Following tweeters like Mashable, AlleyInsider and, of course, the IAB will ensure you always know the new sites and services before the mainstream do.

•    Apply SEO techniques and strategy to your social objects as you would do with your classic site. Keywords in titles, optimised tags and site-specific meta data will help your content get found in all the search engines, no matter how they decide rankings.

•    Be everywhere. You have to make sure that when people are doing searches that are relevant to you, your brand is dominating as much of that search real estate as possible – whatever engine they choose to use.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) –has partnered with search and social conversion agency Tamar to educate marketers about the importance of using search to build brands, with a step-by-step guide to putting the discipline at the heart of online strategies.

The full guide is available for download from the IAB site here or to request a copy please contact .

For more information on how you can contribute/sponsor one of the upcoming handbooks in the brand building series (Brand Building Through Integration, Brand Building Through Creativity and Brand Building Through Relationships) contact

, commercial director at Unruly Media explains what viral success looks like and how you measure it. Steve also talks about the vital characteristics your video needs to make it stand out and have the ‘shareable’ factor, using ‘Charlie bit my finger’ as an example.

Watch the below videos to see the interview in full…

The IAB’s resident Paxman, , interviewed , commercial director at Unruly Media about what makes a successful viral campaign to dispel the myths that surround the area. Steve talks about what results clients are looking for from their campaigns using the Evian case study as a positive benchmark for brands, and what’s makes good creative.

Watch the below video to see the full interview…

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…