Category Archives: Blog

Social Intelligence Beyond Monitoring #3: Real Time Marketing

Job Muscroft CEO photo

In this series I want to look at the emerging uses cases for social media intelligence which go beyond counting mentions of brand and consumer sentiment. Previous blogs have explored social intelligence for brand positioning and product innovation.

This month, I’ll show how social media listening can help brands improve engagement with their digital marketing activities – and get actionable feedback in realtime to boost campaign performance.

The Brief

A large global retail brand needed social media intelligence to maximise the impact of their 7 day online treasure hunt promotion, the key activity in launching their new season campaign.

What we did

  • Live social media tracking of all competition mention of keywords and hashtags across 7 days the campaign was live
  • Analysis of the client’s owned channel analytics – Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and promoted Twitter and Facebook spend
  • Multiple-daily updates to both the client and their digital advertising agency

Why this worked

Social media listening picks up the spontaneous or ‘organic’ discussion missed by owned channel analytics. But presenting that on its own would only have been half the picture. Key to the success of this project was our ability to work with multiple data sources to provide an integrated view of the campaign.

This meant we could convert basic social media metrics into real KPIs such as volume of organic buzz created per £1 spent, or the extent the campaign was driving conversions to new website visits.


The client found this use of social intelligence during the live campaign helped them make agile and better decisions about where to invest in the campaign to maximise the engagement with consumers:

  • On Day 1 of the campaign the client up-weighted promotion on Facebook which increased overall engagement levels of the campaign over the next 6 days by 50%
  • Day 2 of the campaign the client reduced the spend on more expensive prizes and diverted to small prizes that generated more organic consumer conversations which increased ROI by 30%
  • Year-on-year with the same marketing budget the client increased their overall engagement levels with consumers by 25%

In the next blog in this series I will be highlighting how we can use social intelligence can help you in a PR crisis.

Any thoughts or questions, as always feel free to get in touch with me at @JobMuscroft and

What’s new in… Charities & Social Media? FACE’s 5 Top Reads

In this week’s links round-up, Ed Hawes evaluates the relationship non-profit organisations have with social media, highlighting their challenges and successes.

Charities and non-profit organisations are often seen as being a little slower than the commercial sector in really integrating digital comms & technologies into how they operate – not least because they are held back by budgets.

I have collated five reads that ask: what are the challenges non-profits face with the uptake of social media? What are the best platforms to use to get your message heard? And which organisations are successes of the digital age?

With social media, charities can win the digital general election

Laura Keely, Guardian

“Platforms like Twitter are vital campaigning tools for the third sector. Charities can use them to force their issues up the political agenda.”

With social media charities can win the digital general election

In the run up to the general election, much has been said around social media’s role to persuade users to vote. Laura Keely – of Macmillan Cancer Support – talks about how charities can encourage existing supporters to champion their cause directly with local MPs.

Social media campaigns during the election period can raise the profiles of important issues and attract new supporters. Keely says online action from supporters is vital if charities want to ensure their issues are on the political agenda.

Our chief executive’s refusal to use social media is holding the charity back

Anonymous, Guardian

“I have worked in charity marketing and communications for more than 15 years and, now more than ever, understand the importance and impact of a personal social media presence. It raises our profile in a crowded space and can be more effective than sending out a press release or posting a story on our own website.”

Our chief executive's refusal to use social media is holding the charity back

The author makes it clear that the charity sector should not solely rely on traditional marketing methods. A charity’s CEO is responsible for being accessible to their followers, which as a result can raise the organisations’ profile in an already crowded market. Not having this medium, however, can stunt their growth.

The article quotes a study claiming eight out of 10 people are more likely to trust an organisation whose CEO and leadership team are on social media. Leaders need to acknowledge this as a way to access a vast range of demographics and new opportunities.

5 lessons from the ways charities use social media

Mary Mitchell, Technology Trust

“Charities with large audiences have discovered that consolidating their presence on Facebook might not be as useful as developing a campaign on Snapchat if they’re targeting a young audience, and that changes to the Facebook algorithm can alter everything.”

5 lessons from the ways charities use social media

Social media has evolved as a place of “expressive capability” where people are collaborative in groups. With this in mind, Mitchell draws on five trends and techniques she delivered in her ‘How international development charities are using social media’ report. This ranges from making sure you deliver the right message on a platform which holds your target audience, to prioritising new voices. These are crucial tips to any non-profit looking for new mediums.

Mary Mitchell’s main point? Social media opens up a pool of new opportunities to bring the Western world closer to developing countries.

Like Instagram. It’ll do wonders for your charity

Zoe Amar, Guardian

“From a National Trust photo campaign to snaps from the Ebola frontline, Instagram can bring your supporters right up to the action.”

Like Instagram. It'll do wonders for your charity

We’ve discussed the importance of charities using social media overall, but which platforms are the most effective and far-reaching? Author Zoe Amar highlights interesting case studies on how Instagram is being used effectively by non-profits. Essentially the app allows charities to take users to the forefront of their activities, be that in Syria or Nigeria. It also brings the topic to a younger audience. Co-creating campaigns on Instagram with your audience as well as involving them in campaigns can be key to retaining interest.

UNICEF is using Snapchat to highlight children missing out on their childhood in Nigeria 

Owen Williams, TNW

“Snapchat is a powerful tool for UNICEF to reach younger people, who might not otherwise take the time to learn the full story. The organization, which is reliant on funding from governments and private donors, is facing a severe funding shortfall, and needs new methods to reach people.”


UNICEF is using Snapchat to highlight children missing out on their childhood in Nigeria

In contrast to the second article on charity CEOs who can’t see social media’s potential, this article shows how a non-profit is investing boldly in new social frontiers. UNICEF have used Snapchat as a vertical that brings awareness of humanitarian issues to a generation who wouldn’t usually seek out these headlines – Generation X.

What UNICEF are doing with Snapchat is a powerful example of how non-profits can utilise social media’s potential to influence a younger audience – an audience that is mostly far removed from the issues UNICEF raise.

Join us in a fortnight for another sector round up. Send over any suggestions to me at @FaceResearch.

Social Intelligence Beyond Monitoring #2: Innovating a new mobile payment product

Welcome to the second edition of our blog series on Social Intelligence Beyond Monitoring, from FACE CEO Job Muscroft

In the second blog in this series I want to look at use cases for social media research which go beyond counting mentions of brands and consumer sentiment. Companies can find big, untapped sources of value if they invest in what we call socially intelligent research. What’s that? It’s research that goes beyond merely narrating what’s happening in social media to answer  the real questions ‘Why?’ and ‘What should we do about it?’  With this deeper level of insight, social media can do a lot more than simply monitor discussion.

Last month I talked about how social media intelligence can guide brand positioning; this month, product innovation.

The Brief

A large global financial services brand with a leading position in the credit card market was looking to develop a new proposition in the emerging area of mobile payment. They were interested in exploring peer-to-peer payments – don’t think Bitcoin decentralised networks (it was before that time!) but simply “consumer-to-consumer” payment between friends and family.

Using mobile phone at dinner table


What we did

We recognised that payment generates high levels of conversation amongst those communities that need to make regular payments such as students, small traders and families.  So we started wide by listening to discussion about the whole category of sending and receiving money. From this we identified thousands of relevant conversations, from which we identified 10 major pain points.

One notable behaviour was the large numbers of conversations started by people checking with their friend or family member that the payment had actually arrived. This showed people using peer-to-peer payment need validation and confirmation built into the systems so they know for sure when the payment has been made and received. An app can’t just offer financial transfer but needs to have a communication layer as well.

The next stage of the project was a co-creation workshop where we used the 10 painpoint areas to ideate the key features of the new P2P product with the target market. Using rapid prototyping methods, we develop a mobile prototype of potential app functionalities,  which we tested with a larger number of consumers for a further two weeks to refine the key product features.

An example of another P2P mobile payment product, Snapcash

An example of another P2P mobile payment product, Snapcash

Why this worked

The client found this use of social intelligence at the beginning of the innovation process had 4 main benefits. This method…

  1. Helped them quickly root ideation in strong observable and quantifiable global needs
  2. Gave the stakeholder team great confidence that the ideas they were generating would solve a real consumer need from the scale and robustness of the data from social intelligence, more than they felt they got from traditional small-scale ethnographic research
  3. Confirmed and brought to life the key target audience for the product
  4. Enabled the client to move to prototyping within four weeks, which is two thirds faster than their usual innovation approach

At FACE we call this ‘augmented research‘, tying together the best of social and qual and emerging and established research methods to get brands closer to their customers – and ultimately making better business decisions.

In the next blog in this series I will be highlighting how we can use social intelligence to help improve a live marketing campaign. Stay tuned!

Connect with Job on LinkedIn or Twitter, or get in touch by email:

What’s new in… the Internet of Things? FACE’s 5 Top Reads

When searching for great content to share on FACE and Pulsar’s social channels, I stumble upon the ‘Internet of Things’ most days. But, it’s a subject that is yet to feature on this blog. And I don’t know why that is – the potential for it to change all our lives is vast.

The Internet of Things is an umbrella term used to describe internet-connected devices, from furniture to coffee-machines, light switches to dishwashers. The concept is that these everyday “objects” will be in constant chatter with larger computer systems and one another in order to make our lives easier.

Imagine this – in the morning your activity wristband will notify your Nespresso that you have woken. By the time you reach the kitchen a grande cappuccino with a sprinkling of cinnamon is waiting for you. Sounds perfect, right?

My aim here is to provide you with five top reads that explain what we can expect from the future of inter-connected devices

How the Internet of Things is revolutionizing the world of sport

Stephen Pritchard, Guardian

“The idea of capturing data during a sporting event is not new but the richness of the data now available and the speed at which it is gathered certainly is.”

Internet of Things revolutionizing world of sport

In this first article Stephen Pritchard discusses how the Internet of Things is changing the sporting landscape: from coaching and spectating to post-game and real-time analysis. The introduction of “smart buildings” means that sensors in an athlete’s shoe, boot or clothing can link up to the stadium’s WiFi network – allowing teams to monitor players whilst in action. Not only this, but allow building software to monitor stadium activity

Sportswear brands such as Adidas and Nike are already exploring opportunities here, such as the Adidas ‘Smart Ball’ and miCoach software for football performance analytics. Brands investing in sports sponsorship may want to consider how they can use sensor data to give fans an exclusive, immersive view of the game.

If we draw our eyes away from the pitch and to closer horizons, what happens to the data (and there will be a lot of it)? This is exactly what the author of our next article, Patrick McFadin, asks:

Internet of Things: Where does the data go?

Patrick McFadin, Wired

“As Internet of Things projects go from concepts to reality, one of the biggest challenges is how the data created by devices will flow through the system. How many devices will be creating information? How will they send that information back? Will you be capturing that data in real time, or in batches? What role will analytics play in future?”

Internet of Things: Where'd the data go?

A technical read on how data flows through IOT systems, with particular focus on the importance of capturing accurate time-series data in order to produce useful, actionable analytics results.

Want to go big with the Internet of things? Think ‘some’ not all

Heather Clancy, Fortune

“Close to 25 billion sensors could be sharing data wirelessly by 2020, attached to everything from LED lights to cars to industrial equipment to doorbells.”

Want to go big with the Internet of things? Think 'some' not all

If the Internet of Things catches on, there will be nothing small about its operations. Heather Clancy notes that in 5 years time the world could play host to 25 billion talking sensors. Yet how are businesses using this technology to better their efficiency and profits right now? Clancy highlights the philosophy that less-is-more by stating it should not be the Internet of Everything, but rather deliberately chosen objects. From implementing this strategy, businesses Deloitte, Verizon and GE are already increasing their profits by driving real revenue.

In our next article Victor White asks what marketing professionals should do to stay ahead of the IoT curve:

Internet of Things can change our daily loves, but without identity it’s just noise

Victor White, Betanews

“By tying all of the data points generated from connected devices back to a user’s identity, businesses will be able to create truly personalized and lifestyle-based experiences for individual consumers.”

Internet of Things can change our daily loves, but without identity it’s just noise

For businesses using  data from connected devices, identifying its origins and the individual owner of the device is key to creating one-to-one experiences. White argues that without identity the Internet of Things is just noise and completely redundant.

What will happen when the Internet of Things becomes artificially intelligent?

Stephen Balkam, the Guardian

If we can resolve the privacy, security and trust issues that both AI and the IoT present, we might make an evolutionary leap of historic proportions

Internet of Things can change our daily loves, but without identity it’s just noise

This article, which articulates the bigger picture of inter-connected AI and the Internet of Things, may not be relevant to businesses right now, but it’s something we should pay attention to nonetheless. Stephen Balkam of the Family Online Safety Institute believes once we’ve solved the issues of trust, privacy and security, then we are in the midst of a breakthrough in technology and consciousness.

That’s the latest from the Internet of Things from me, Ed Hawes.  Join us in a fortnight for another five reads from another sector – share your suggestions with me over at @FaceResearch. 

Introducing SONIC reports: on-demand social media insight

We’re proud to be introducing SONIC – our new social analytics reporting offer that can kick start your social media journey.

Struggling for time to analyse and interpret your social media data?  SONIC is the tool you need to raise visibility and understanding of social media across your business.

Pulsar SONIC image

Get the social media reporting you need

SONIC reports present you with the facts that you need to measure the effectiveness of your social media practices in a clear and engaging format, saving you valuable time in data prep and analysis. Set the pace of reporting, choose between different report lengths, and drive decision-making with minimum investment.

Three levels of reporting are available:

Executive Monthly snapshots to provide you with clear indicators and strategic, actionable insights to evaluate your performance on social media channels

Essential A report bundle delivering key metrics alongside qualitative deep-dives to give you a continuous, holistic view of your brand presence online

Elite An exploratory package giving you a detailed understanding of your online brand equity, based on crucial benchmark figures and contextual analysis.

Prices start from just £1800 per month and we can offer rapid turnaround to help you meet your deadlines – so get in touch with our lead analyst Giuseppe ( to find out more.

Custom options and full-service social media research is also available.  Learn more here, or contact to discuss how we can help you gain smart strategic insight from social data.


Why we’ve developed SONIC social media reports

At FACE and Pulsar, our mission is to make sense of social data so our customers can make faster, smarter decisions about their brands, campaigns and customers. We deliver this through the cutting edge data science, analytics and visualisations on our social media monitoring platform…

…But we know sometimes our clients might not have even have an hour or two spare to dig into their data every week. Lack of resource is  still a major barriers to businesses becoming more socially intelligent, resulting in many social media programs becoming siloed in the digital team and not reaching across the business.

The SONIC concept was developed as we wanted to deliver a cost-effective way of reporting social data insights. We identified that many businesses don’t require full strategic social insight or long reports. Sometimes you just need to measure what’s happening on your own channels, benchmark competitor performance, and check in on customer opinion.

Think of SONIC reports as your outsourced social media insight department. Our reporting can give your social media efforts greater visibility within your organisation, and they’ll give you the ability to  share bite sized social media insights on a large scale.


What makes our social media reporting different?

  1. Expert analysts. Our reports are written by experienced market researchers who also work on major global brands such as Tesco, Mazda and Telefonica
  2. Actionable insights. We don’t just report metrics: our analysts know how to dig insight out of social data and make clear recommendations about what this means for your brand and comms strategy
  3. Full global coverage. Pulsar can track social data in 170 languages and our trusted international network of analysts can deliver social media reporting in any European language plus Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Korean
  4. Flexible report formats, not rigid, one size fits all templates. We can customise our reporting options to answer your specific business queries
  5. On-demand reporting options that allows you to design a support system that truly works in alignment with your business needs, practices and objectives.

Case study: how Mazda used SONIC reports to drive their social business strategy across Europe

Sonic client Mazda facebook page

CHALLENGE Mazda Motor Europe wanted to introduce social media listening as a new way to gather customer feedback and inform its first brand-led marketing campaign in Europe.

They came to Pulsar for our advanced analytics capacities and the fact our platform integrates social listening (Pulsar TRAC) and CRM (Pulsar FLOW) into a one stop social media management tool.

APPROACH A tailor-made set of SONIC reporting options available to the Central team to assess brand performance and measure the effectiveness of different marketing practices at both local and European level.

RESULTS SONIC reports are playing an instrumental role in raising awareness of social media across Mazda’s 12 key European markets. Mazda is now actively integrating social media in its Europewide marketing planning for 2015 and SONIC reports are being integrated with Mazda’s wider agency roster for consistent and long-lasting performance evaluation

Mazda say, “Since rolling out Pulsar across 12 European countries, we’ve been able to get truly insightful information from our customers in real time”


So that’s our SONIC reporting offer: providing you with the expert resource you need to measure the impact of your activities and prove the value of social media to key stakeholders.

If you want to find out more about SONIC reporting then contact our lead analyst, Giuseppe ( to build a package that’s right for you.