Social Media Is the New Don Draper

Nick Halstead
22nd July 2015 0 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to present at the Cannes Lion Innovation Festival. As the event brings together agencies, start-ups, data analysts, brands and people from across the creative industry, it seemed the ideal forum to present how social data analysis is transforming brand marketing and creative briefs globally.

We all know the Don Draper style of agency executives and marketers. They come up with the big creative ideas that impress big (often hard-to-please) clients and result in all-singing, all-dancing campaigns. But the days of just coming up with ideas that blow clients’ minds and taking them for martini-fuelled lunches are fading, and social data is stepping into the limelight.

Data’s becoming sexy and transforming global marketing efforts.

Social networks, and the billions of data items they radiate daily, have become key ingredients in every agency’s portfolio. However, much of the focus to date has been on social listening to monitor brand health or identify an “Oreo moment” to engage with audiences. A lot of the industry has long been focused on measuring how many times content has been shared and measuring sentiment. Although great for customer service use cases, a lot of this of this analysis has also been done retrospectively and it’s difficult for businesses to make concrete decisions based on this.

Now, there’s a sea-change underway in the market, with a move away from what individuals are saying to broader audience insights. There’s no sense in targeting a multi-million dollar campaign at one person – it’s the wider audience that matters. There’s a shift to social data further upstream to enable agencies and brands to build real-time audience insights for industries, and topical research to help marketers build better creative and campaigns. In the Big Data era, social data is becoming the new creative brief.

As well as informing creative campaigns and arming marketers and agencies with the insights to provide increasingly relevant content for their audiences, social data is now integral to measuring campaign performance. There’s now a shift beyond quantitative measurement to qualitative benchmarking. Gone are the days of counting likes, tweets or comments, which is really no more than an online show of hands.

Thanks to advances in technology, there’s now the ability to gain greater insight into what’s working and what’s not with your audiences. How are people engaging with your content and what are they sharing? And it goes beyond sentiment. Sentiment analysis is a powerful concept, but social media analytics now takes into consideration factors such as context and content in addition to sentiment, providing a depth and sophistication of insight unrivalled by any analytics that came before.

From strategy and content creation through to publishing and measuring campaigns, it’s clear that data is now integral to the work of agencies and marketers. It’s time for the Don Draper’s of yesteryear to come into the light.

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