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Social Media Data Technology

What the heck is relevancy at scale in social?

By Colin Jacobs | client services director

April 28, 2016 | 6 min read

Last week, Immediate Future hosted a breakfast event for brands on relevancy at scale in social. Colin Jacobs discusses the findings.

Relevancy at scale are the three single most important words you’ll learn if you’re aiming to take social seriously.

Relevancy at scale is the most impactful and efficient manor to tackle social; the recipe comprises technology, data and smart minds. The resulting, affordable dish is flush with awareness, engagement and trackable conversion.

For years now, we’ve understood tools that listen, curate and publish content and subsequently measure its performance have a prime role to play within agencies and brands who are immersed in advanced strategic social. It’s no different to how the success of your broader marketing strategy is determined by the performance of the experienced minds charged with utilising resources. Simply buying advanced technology doesn’t guarantee receiving business-impactful data and insight. Nor will it craft thought-provoking copy or thumb-stopping creative. And it most definitely won’t conjure audience profiles for targeting and retargeting. Yet, the aforementioned technology will deliver all of these facets if placed in the hands of smart minds whom know how to use the tool and interpret its data.

Last week Immediate Future, together with our friends at Spredfast hosted a breakfast event for more than 75 leading brands showcasing these points. To help proceedings, we recruited the assistance of Chris Kerns, author of Trendology and VP, research & insights at Spredfast, Selena Harington, head of consumer marketing, Microsoft, Kate Dale, strategic lead, Sport England, Rachel Kneen, social media manager, O2 and Jim Millen, digital content editor, Fujitsu.

Chris Kerns (@chriskerns) led our keynote presenting some compelling and attention-drawing stats: “93% of all social content created in 2015 was 1:1 focused; published content and direct replies to complaints and questions. In the airline industry 98% of all tweets were 1:1. They do it better!”

Relevancy at scale is the premise to reach smaller groups with highly relevant content and then repeating this process at scale. For example, brands should no longer target an 18 – 35 year-old segment using the same asset and message. The copy and visual for the teen, versus the twenty-something and the mid-thirties group should differ, bound by a consistency in look and feel. The rationale; first you are rewarded by Facebook with a higher relevancy score which results is lower bid pricing on your Paid – Facebook doesn’t want to see generic irrelevant assets on their platform so they penalise you with higher advertising costs and poorer reach. Secondly, the engagements and subsequent tracked conversion is higher. Significantly so. Double figure engagement is hard to achieve, but I could share data from a number of campaigns and clients showing in excess of 20% engagement driving as much as 50% of consumer spend – it’s why we won Best Use of Social Media at The Drum, Buzz Awards, 2015. Relevancy at Scale.

Chris Kerns next took our captive audience into the current US Presidential Election, evidencing why Mr Trump really shouldn’t talk about himself. To say the content performs poorly is being kind. Nothing shocking with that message you might say. So try this one: “when the Presidential candidates write America, engagements are SIGNIFICANTLY fewer that when they write United States of America.” The data map evidencing engagement and trust levels wasn’t showing a modest difference. What was interesting is that the campaign teams and their PRs clearly aren’t using technology to asses copy performance. If they were, the use of America would have ceased and the longer-form would appear on every piece of copy and utilised within each speech given. This insightful data is potentially vote winning.

How far can we take things? Well too far. Geo-targeting is now accurate to just four-meters, but is there any value in seeing a data spot showcasing an Olympic athlete visiting toilets? Probably not. As marketers we need to use data to fuel decision making, but those decisions must come from your training and experience. Technology will get you part of the way, but your gut and knowledge will determine how best to use information. Be smart, not creepy.

So how are brands approaching 1:1 marketing and personalisation within social? Cue the brilliant panel from Microsoft, Sport England, O2 and Fujitsu to help answer that:

@RachKneen shares that one of O2’s challenges is managing in excess of 10,000 conversations per week. She says: “I don’t think enough brands analyse their data enough. You’ve got to get the balance [of 1:1 marketing] right. Do I create a campaign with 100 different audiences and assets, or do I focus on specific audiences? It’s about creating the content and conversations that will efficiently connect with the majority. We want to be as personal as possible.”

@kate_dale continues: “Creating an emotional connection is really important. That 1:1 personalisation takes it to the next level. This Girl Can is big on personalised content and UGC. Engagement was about 12% for UGC and our own content at around 25% engagement. UGC is about rewarding and acknowledging for us, not about engaging new audiences. We use a mix of high quality content and UGC.”

Interestingly @Jim_millen identifies the importance for Fujitsu in marrying online data with staff’s anecdotal feedback to accurately meet the demand of 1:1. He says: “Customers do very much care [what we do in social]. It’s really important that what we do reflects that relationship. In B2B it has to be a lot more structured. We have to understand what the customer needs and who they are. It’s about understanding what the customers are saying to specific groups in our company”.

It’s clear all brands understand the need for personalisation. Examples shared by attendees from British Gas, Old Mutual Wealth, ASOS, and England Rugby all confirm many are tapping into the challenges of personalisation and how to drive Relevancy at Scale. It’s comforting to see so many brands taking social seriously, delivering truly brand-transformational results. Long may it continue!

Colin Jacobs is client services director at Immediate Future.

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