Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Last week I went to the MRS Connected World conference, a really excellent event gathering together an inspiring crowd to talk about new technologies and consumer behaviours. Not just to listen – though listening was great! I was also putting forward the FACE point of view on a panel with Tom Ewing of Brainjuicer and Paul Edwards of Working Plural & JKR.

Our topic: “cutting through the noise”. Digital media & technology has generated a dramatic shift – for the first time in history, there’s not a shortage of information but an excess. But how to make sense of it all? How to find the insight amid the flood?

Our session was kindly written up by Research Live, so I won’t go into the details here. Instead, I want to pick up on a really smart question from an audience member – How do you do social media research with real rigour?

Great question. How do you move beyond a set of observations made on a vast and potentially rather amorphous dataset, to get to something we might actually call research? On the spot I came up with 3 ways  - but on reflection, there are more.

Here’s my top 10 ways to make your social media research rock solid:

1. Capture the complete universe

If the dataset’s incomplete (and especially if you don’t know what’s missing), you can’t say anything about how your findings relate to the wider universe. Tweets found directly through Twitter search are really no more than anecdote until you can contextualise them within a meaningful totality of everything that’s going on in social.

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Image source: Mapping The Global Twitter Heartbeat: The Geography of Twitter, by Kalev H. Leetaru et al., 2012

So make sure you’re using a social media research tool that’s built on top of Twitter Firehose (the 100% data API) and robust blog, forum & news data collection.

Of course there’s still a gap between “everything said in social” and “everything people think”. But that’s true for every research method – this is a risk we can only minimise, never remove entirely.

2. Your search strategy is critical

Great data sources aren’t enough on their own – you’ve got to set them up right. If you’re searching for a particular category (e.g. haircare), you need to be confident you’ve collected the whole category – every possible way people can talk about hair, from products to styles and stylists, and verbs & adjectives as well as nouns. Just searching for all mentions of “hair” won’t cut it – you’re not capturing a meaningful totality.

How to build good search syntax: Brainstorm. Then test it in Twitter & Google search, then iterate to add in new words & phrases that come up. Analyst experience is key here to build a search strategy that’s both comprehensive and focused.

3. Qualify your quant insights

Social data is qual data at a mass scale, says Francesco D’Orazio, our chief technologist.

Numbers on their own aren’t insights. Positive sentiment is 20% – so what? What are people saying? What are the needs and emotions driving that figure, and why is it higher for one brand than another? Read, synthesise, code. Quote the actual messages, show the verbatim. Keep the people visible in how you tell your insights.

4. Quantify your qual insights

Say you’re doing an innovation project, find out that fighting frizz is the most important consumer haircare need. Your immediate client might love the depth of qual insight you can build from beauty blogs and forums… But she’s also got to communicate that insight around a larger organisation & to lots of people who won’t ever read your full deck.

So quantify that qual insight and rank it against other needs. Savvy use of Boolean search strings – NEAR operators & smart exclusion terms – can give you sensible approximate volumes for almost any concept. You’ll not capture every nuance, to be sure – but it’ll help support that qual insight as a really solid finding.

puggit pug AND rabbit

(Ok, not really an example of quantifying qual insights – but a very cute example of Boolean syntax!)

5. Can another analyst find the same insights?

Classic research methods such as data coding still can have a key role to play in turning social media data into insight. It provides a structured template for content analysis that helps iron out bias from the analyst’s own preconceptions. Instead you’ve got a random sample of 200 messages and a structured grid, and it’s easy to review across team to help standardise what you mean by particular categories and concepts.

6. Benchmark

Is this finding real? How much does it actually matter? Display your research findings contextualised against other brands, other categories, or as share of voice – so your reader can get a sense of proportion.

7. State what you don’t know, or can’t prove

  • e.g. “This visualisation is based on Twitter data, a channel used by 26% of the UK population.”
  • “Social media messages almost never identify a store by its exact street address, and only 1.6% of tweets have geolocation. Consequently we cannot locate the se complaints to specific store, only town or region level.”
  • “Social media data includes only information that is publicly available on the web, and not private email or text message data” (yes we get this one!)

Make the gaps explicit. It shows you know what you’re talking about – and helps ensure your insights are interpreted accurately. Overclaim isn’t rigorous!

8. Test hypotheses. Test a null hypothesis.

Having hypotheses makes your data useful – instead of just drawing a picture of the landscape, you’re trying to find out something specific. But in the spirit of scientific enquiry, proving a hypothesis isn’t just going out looking for data that supports it. It’s also about looking for data that supports the null hypothesis – the counter-possibility that nothing is happening, or the opposite. Look for both – and if all the evidence really falls on one side, then you can be confident that your finding is really robust.

Null hypothesis cartoon aliens socks

Testing the null hypothesis or counter-factuals  is also a great way to find interesting things you weren’t expecting (see point 10!)

9. Triangulate against other data sources

Extract everything you can from your client, from sales figures to  qual research to semiotics decks.  Turn these into hypotheses. Is your research supporting these? Building on them? Taking them a new direction? Or disagreeing entirely? All are legitimate outcomes – and putting your insights in this context makes them much easier for your client to use.

10. Don’t do social media research if it’s not the right way to answer your question

A contrarian point for closing – but here at FACE we’re honest about the fact that social media data can’t answer all research questions. Its genius is that the data we’re analysing is largely spontaneous and unprompted, making it a great way to find “unknown unknowns’ – the things you didn’t even know you wanted to know, or needed to ask.

Unknown-Knowns-invert-657x600

But sometimes you’ve got really specific questions to answer – how far are consumers prepared to trade off price vs. quality, perhaps, or whether a different shade of blue would make a better bottle top. And I’m afraid people just aren’t talking about bottle cap colours in social media… So you’d need to ask them directly: time for a focus group! Not social.

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So that’s 10 ways to make your social media research really robust. Any more to add? Get in touch with us on Twitter – we’re @FaceResearch – and tell us your top tips! I (Jess) do a bunch of tweeting for FACE, so let’s keep the conversation going.

Or if you’ve got a really thorny research problem and you’re looking for a rigorous solution, get in touch with my colleague James on James.Hirst@Facegroup.com – we’d love to talk it through with you.

 

On Thursday 10th July, Jess Owens, one of our Social Media Managers here at Face, will be speaking on a panel at the Market Research Society’s Connected World conference in London.

Connected World is an exciting new conference for the market research industry which aims to “help the insight and marketing world capitalise on the new technologies, behaviours and beliefs that are driving relationships between individuals, brands and consumers.”

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It’s a privilege to be one of the only research agencies speaking at a conference drawing on an excitingly wide range of speakers and expertise. Connected World aims to inject new ideas into the market research debate, drawing on everything from experts in consumer creativity (Hazel Robinson on tapping into the power of fans) to technologists visioning the future through pervasive computing (Adrian David Cheok, City University) and the Internet of Things (Moeen Khawaja, Umbrellium).

Jess will be on a panel at 11.40am called Cutting Through The Noise, alongside Tom Ewing (Brainjuicer) and Paul Edwards (Working Plural and JKR), with discussion chaired by journalist Richard Young.

The pitch:

“An ever-growing amount of interaction between consumers, brands and beyond means only one thing for research professionals – an ever-growing challenge. How can the analysis keep up with the flow of information? How can research adapt to the new technologies and practices? In this case study-free debate, we discover the scale and nature of the task ahead of us.”

For more information, full programme details and registration, please have a look on the official site of the conference.

Or catch up with Jess at the conference by saying hello on Twitter (@hautepop) or email jessica@facegroup.com.

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Marketing Week Live, one of the biggest events in the UK marketing world, takes place next Wednesday and Thursday and we’re really excited to be part of it.

If you haven’t already, you can register for free here.

Here’s what we’ll be up to:

Cats vs Dogs

Cats vs. Dogs: the experiment
Stand E372, Understand zone

Who’s better, cats or dogs? This question can start more intense debates than even those between rival football fans. And while everyone knows if they’re a cat person or a dog person in real life, things may be a little bit different when it comes to digital media. So when it comes to internet pets, who do people love more?

Since everything we do here at FACE is about understanding people, we thought we’d do a little experiment.* For this, we teamed up with our friends at Sensum who specialise in mobile solutions for capturing, visualising and reporting engagement. Using Sensum’s proven biometric technology (yes, we are taking this seriously) we will measure people’s emotional reactions to one cat and one dog YouTube video and solve this debate once and for all.

So if you’re at Marketing Week Live next week come by our booth (E372 in the Understand zone) and be part of the ultimate internet cats vs internet dogs experiment. You will not only get to see who wins YOUR heart but also who is the overall winner.

And while you’re there, we’d also love to chat about your marketing challenges and see if we can’t share a few ideas about how we can help out. But if you just want talk lolcat videos, we’re up for that too. We are, after all, keen afficionados of viral video.

*Warning: The experiment may involve butterflies in your stomach. Chills down your spine. Hysterical laughter. And even tears. 

 

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How Stuff Spreads presentation
June 25, 1pm, Insights Forum, Understand zone

Jess Owens, our Social Media Research Manager and one of the most experienced members of the Social Insights team will join the main stage to present breakthrough insights from our How Stuff Spreads research which looks at how content goes viral on Twitter.

Why do some videos go viral while others collect just a bunch of clicks? Most studies on the subject focus on virality as a feature of the content. But what if virality was (also) a feature of the audience? Can the demographics and the structure of the audience of a video explain how it goes viral? And how can you predict virality?

Jess will share what we learned about virality using content tracking technology to look at four videos that recently went viral on Twitter: a music video, an advertising campaign, a citizen journalism video and a Vine series. All videos went viral in different ways and whilst there is no simple answer such as a virality formula, the talk reveals the common traits of viral phenomena and how marketers can engineer them in their creative and planning process in order to achieve virality and develop a data-driven content strategy.

AURA one-to-ones

June 25, afternoon

Our Head of Research, Matt Arnold is very much looking forward to meeting the AURA members in the 1 to 1 sessions organised on Day 1 of Marketing Week Live.

As you can see, we’ve got lots of very exciting things going on. We can’t wait till next week and hope to see you there.

If you’d like to arrange a meeting with us during Marketing Week Live, please contact us at info@facegroup.com. 

May and June are looking busy for the Face teams across the world. Apart from some really interesting projects we’ve recently kicked off, we are getting ready for several conferences and events. Here’s what we’re up to in the next few weeks:

 

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We’re really excited to be part of one of the top marketing events of the year. It will be our first year at Marketing Week Live and we can’t wait! Our Business Development Team is putting the finishing  touches to the booth concept, while the Research teams are busy finalising the analysis of our presentation. Want to find out how online buzz influences sales? Then join our presentation in the Understand zone on the first day of the conference. Check out Marketing Week Live website for more info and registration. Hope to see you there.

 

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Also in London, we have partnered with Social Media Café for the next edition of their networking event on May 23. Click here to register, it’s free!

 

SMWF

Social Media Forum (New York)

After a successful Social Media Forum in London, we decided to join the New York leg of the conference, on May 28-29. Face’s Chief Innovation Officer, Francesco D’Orazio, will join the main stage to present breakthrough insights from our How Stuff Spreads research which looks at how content goes viral. Whilst there is no simple answer such as a virality formula, the talk will reveal the common traits of viral phenomena and how marketers can engineer them in their creative and planning process in order to achieve virality and develop a data-driven content strategy.

We are also looking forward to moderating the Brand Reputation breakout session. If you’re around, do join our sessions and come to our booth to say hello.

 

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Francesco will also be speaking at the Big Boulder conference which takes place on June 5 and 6 in Boulder, Colorado. He will present on the topic of data visualisation and analysis of visual social media.

Hope to meet you at one of these events.

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We are getting ready for two conferences this month: ARF Re: Think in New York and Social Media Forum in London.

ARF Rethink

With a showcase of 50+ groundbreaking studies (cross-platform, social media, mobile research and more), 100 high-profile presenters, 2,500 industry peers (from P&G, Unilever, Apple, and Facebook along with many others) it’s looking like it will be a really innovative and exciting event.

The Face NY team will be manning the booth and our friends from Pulsar will demo their social intelligence platform.  Drop by to find out how we can help you better understand and connect with your consumers by combining qualitative insight, real time data and smart thinking.

Register and check out the details here.

 

SMWF 2

Social Media Forum (#SMWF) Europe is a social and digital marketing conference which examines the latest developments in social marketing and how it sits within an organisation. #SMWF launches in London on 31 March – 1 April 2014.

We’re looking forward to talks from many industry thought leaders on how to drive engagement, manage brand image and understand great customer service. To name but a few: McDonalds, BBC, Walt Disney, Lithium, Philips, Unicef, Vodafone, Amnesty International, Wall Street Journal and Sky are all sharing their knowledge.

Our Chief Innovation Officer, Francesco D’Orazio (@abc3d) will join the panel discussion on ‘Interdepartmental cooperation for a unified social campaign panel’ alongside participants from Sony, Barclays, Yahoo and RSA. Discussion will touch on the following questions:

  • The practicalities of structuring and implementing a multi-channel social campaign
  • How to create unity across departments and resolve issues for the best outcome
  • Examining new trends and platforms in social and evaluating where the effort should be focussed
  • Looking at how different social platforms fit together with more traditional media

Social media expertise and top-level strategic advice is what we are all about so we’re really looking forward to this discussion.

The FACE and Pulsar teams will also be there to demo Pulsar and answer any questions.

Hope to see you there. Check out the event’s website for more details.