Cannes Lions 2015 – social insights: The top tweets and trends from this year's festival

There was of course a lot of talk about data at Cannes this year. We talked about it ourselves. At a session titled Scientists v Poets, Chris Clarke, our chief creative officer, international and Dan Hughes, SVP, international head of strategy and analysis, looked at the role of creativity in the age of data and argued that the most compelling narratives come from a combination of data and storytelling.

To illustrate this point, we turned the lens on Cannes itself – encouraging our data team to extract the data from the advertising world’s foremost creative festival to see what stories would emerge. And of course, there were some great ones.

Take Periscope for example. 12 months ago we could only have dreamt of being able to see in real time inside the hallowed halls of the Palais. This year it was hard to move for people Periscoping – as reflected in the fact that the real-time video sharing tool emerged as a major Cannes Lions success story, being the sixth most popular destination link for tweets sent with the Cannes Lions hashtag (behind the likes of Instagram, YouTube and Vine).

There is also the unlikely story of Abraham Lincoln stealing Kim Kardashian’s Twitter crown. Who could have dreamt before the festival that the bearded ex-president would deliver more re-tweets than the internet’s favourite reality TV star? Unlikely as it seems, a quote from Lincoln (delivered by @Ogilvy) delivered 17,577 retweets compared to Kim’s most popular effort - “Just landed in Cannes! Love that my mom and Kylie are here too!” – which generated a mere 1,447 retweets.

Looking deeper into the data, other stories emerge. We can see for example that men continue to dominate activity around Cannes with 41 per cent of tweets coming from men’s accounts and 28 per cent from those of women (the additional 31 per cent came from a range of accounts including brands, agencies and media).

Job title information also reveals interesting stories. According to Twitter biography information, people who tweet about the festival are most likely to describe themselves as founders, followed by CEOs (second), creative directors (third), students (fourth) and marketers (fifth).

And what study of Cannes would be complete without an assessment of its finest watering holes? When comparing the top three Cannes venues, we found that the Carlton Hotel emerged as the most tweeted about social venue at Cannes Lions 2015. The Carlton gained 64.8 per cent of all tweets, the Gutter Bar logged 17.8 per cent and the Hotel Majestic managed 17.4 per cent.

And last but by no means least, another interesting story to emerge involved this very publication. Our analysis found that The Drum was the most linked-to UK news outlet on Twitter during Cannes Lions 2015. We found that some 1.34 per cent of all tweets featuring a link to a secondary source and referencing the #canneslions hashtag linked to The Drum’s website.

Only US-based AdWeek performed better in the media outlet category with an impressive 2.75 per cent. Campaign (1.10 per cent), AdAge (1.05 per cent) and The Next Web (1.02 per cent) filled out the top five. The South African site Bizcommunity was sixth followed by Marketing (seventh), the Guardian (eighth) and the Wall Street Journal (ninth).

So what does all this data mean? Lots of things. Most of all though, if we are to use data better, as an industry we need to be better at listening. This is a lesson that everyone who went to Cannes may do well to heed.

Ashley Kenerson is head of data at DigitasLBi. See the full study with these and other stats.

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