“In 2017 we will see a monumental shift in how people spend their ad money”

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Moses Velasco

Interview with Moses Velasco, Chief Product Evangelist at Socialbakers, a global social media analytics company

Hi Moses, what is your background and what is included in your current role at Socialbakers?

My background for the last 18 years has been in technology; I worked in intellectual law in Silicon Valley and then moved on to product management and to VP of product roles. Right now, as Chief Product Evangelist, I have a cool job. I have the opportunity to travel and speak to different markets and use that information to inspire or influence our product development and product teams. I really enjoy it.

What differs Socialbakers from other social media analytics platforms?

Socialbakers started as an analytics provider and solution to measure social performance across various platforms in 2008. We’ve been collecting and storing aggregate data since that time, and now our best in class analytics is backed by having depth and breadth of data. I don’t want to say that we are the world’s largest data media storage, but we are close. This allows us to create next generation social media tools; we are leading the pack in this way. We look at social media performance and are able to provide recommendations on what our users should do, how they should invest their money on content that will provide the best results and take out the guessing work of how they can utilize their budget in the best way.

What are your greatest challenges ahead at Socialbakers, when it comes to serving your customers analysis and developing your offer?

Analytics have been known as a single point type solution; customers tend to have three to five different vendors to manage social media strategy. The big challenge is that we’re moving to a suite solution to understand that the whole is greater than its parts. By integrating different parts, such as analytics and publishing, users will have more capability of using that data to make the best decisions than with separate vendors.

We’ve seen big improvements with a suite solution in customers’ performance because we help them understand their niches better. Customers are able to see what the most resonating content is, and the best time to publish that content to get maximum visibility. Our prediction algorithm helps them learn what their best content is so they can spend money on great performing content, which yields a greater ROI.

With the type of workflow that we integrated to help customers understand where to invest money, we’ve moved from an analytics type provider to a suite of solutions that help clients measure, manage and monetize across the main social media platforms.

Do you have any specific plans to expand your business in the near future, like new markets or products?

We are focused on ads and content campaign optimization for our customers. We’ve provided third party data integrations with web analytics to show how clients can realize a return on the investment they pay for content, and how that results in higher traffic to their websites.

With the introduction of our APIs, this is moving us closer to providing business intelligence, where we can push and pull data from other platforms. I find that very interesting for our customers and for myself.

In the beginning of the year you introduced Facebook Pages for listening. How well has that played out when it comes to your coverage and client adaptation?

Over the previous years, we recognized that we had a significant gap in the ability to provide an integrated listening product. Our customers told us there was a gap, and we listened (pun not intended). Once we did, our customers adopted it, which helped us provide a more holistic approach to our suite and our solutions.

This is a big benefit and unique selling point for Socialbakers, because we provide listening for free within our packaged solutions. This allows our customers to use and leverage listening to manage their discovery and crisis management, as they need to understand how listening fits into the whole solution. We’re one of only vendors that provides this as a solution for free because it’s integrated in our suite and we want our customers to feel the value of our offering.

What part of your current product has a lot of potential, but not been adopted at the same rate yet by your clients?

Our ads analytics section is something that is going to take off quite heavily. We’re able to provide information about how much clients are spending on ad accounts and what that’s yielding for them. The way we’ve built that into our suite is by showing an entire social performance management solution that allows users to understand when to sponsor their content, what content is getting the maximum value from how much they paid and how it’s affecting their relevance score on Facebook; a high relevance score drives reach and engagement. Our ads section will become a hot topic for us in the next few months.

Which social platforms do you see having the most potential in the future?

Aside from the basics, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, we’ll see the rise of Snapchat and Pinterest. Pinterest is open to a few selected marketing partners, while Snapchat hasn’t opened their APIs for analysis, but are moving in that direction. Our clients and our communities are asking us to support these platforms. We are waiting patiently and working closely with partners to see how this will play out. I also think LinkedIn will have a big play in social media as the platform progresses.

What kind of data, which would help you perform even better analysis, is the hardest to get ahold of?

Right now, we are monitoring very closely how bots are addressing client social interactions. These automated chat bots can help with customer service queries, and will be big part of automation behind customer care. It’s interesting to see how this automation affects the manual processing, and where the lines will blur between automated and manual operations. There will still be a need for the human element, but we’ll see big efficiencies from automation.

With monitoring, we want to see what are the best use cases, is it simply customer service, or is it purchasing or repeat buying? While I think there’s a lot to it, we want to avoid using any of the parts or cases that may be hyped up, so this is something we are considering how to analyze in the not too distant future.

What kind of data or media that you do not have monitoring on today, can be interesting in the future?

For us, more data will become social, as traditional media moves in that direction. Even podcasts or these types of activities will move to social. I don’t think there’s a big hurry to do anything else in that realm, but there will be a shift. We see a lot of that in the traditional advertising spend, which was largely on television, but the digital ad span will surpass the TV ad span in 2017. From this point, this is a monumental shift in how people spend their money, from media and publishing to digital and social. This will be an interesting change that we will monitor more effectively and closely in next few years.

How do you think the media monitoring and social media analytics industry will change in the next five years?

We’ll see less publishers going the traditional route like print. Print is still relevant, but less so as publishers go to social. If you want to be a successful business, you have to adapt to these changes; if you want to reach more audiences, it will have be through social. Social responsibility from companies like Socialbakers is to help those businesses and our prospects understand the value of social and how to leverage the communication channels and the largest consumer data source to be able to interact more effectively with audiences and customers.

By Renata Ilitsky

Three Fashion Blogs From Around the World

NY Fashion Week opens today and fashion means many things to different people. To some, dressing fashionably means following the latest styles from world-known brands, such as Chanel, Dior and Gucci. To others, fashion means expressing their individuality and personal sense of style. Although fashion varies from person to person, there are specific fashion trends that permeate entire countries. Here we take a look at three fashion blogs from around the world – China, Sweden and Canada.

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Elle is not afraid to be bold in her outfit selections. Just take a look at this colorful outfit from Cats Brothers. Wearing this in many parts of the world would likely result in curious looks from strangers, but it may be just right for the daring and often whimsical Asian fashion, which always pushes the edge!

China – Elle Lee

ElleIconLee is a blog by Elle Lee, who lives in Hong Kong. An ex-model herself, she writes about fashion and lifestyle, as well as vlogging on YouTube and writing for fashion columns on several websites.

Elle’s unique angles is that she writes in English and Chinese, and shares looks with both international and regional inspirations with her readers. In an interview with Sassy Hong Kong, Elle describes her style as “less is more,” stating that she likes “designs that are clean, well-made and stand the test of time.”

“Imagine a mash-up between the craftsmanship of Oscar de la Renta, the feminine subtlety of Lanvin, the uniqueness of Maison Martin Margiela and the creativity of Nicholas Kirkwood – mix those with my East meets West background and you get an idea of my personal style,” Elle explained.

We got an exclusive interview with Elle about her blogging:

What was your motivation for starting the blog?

I started my first blog when I was 10-years-old, but it was more of a digital platform to record my life for my family and friends as I was living away from home. Then social media started and I was getting a lot of questions regarding what I was wearing, using etc. So I thought I should start a blog and point everyone there for a more detailed answer.

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For a great example of how Elle mixes high fashion with everyday trends from around the world, check out this photo, where she paired a LABORON evening gown with a Mickey Mouse-shaped popcorn case she used as a clutch at Shanghai Fashion Week!

What are the biggest advantages/disadvantages of being a blogger?

A lot of influencers now only work on social media platforms with few words and strong images, that’s the trend. Writing a blog is very time consuming, especially since I still take care of my social platforms in both Chinese and English. However, I still feel like keeping the blog running as it’s more like a core of what I keep everything on, and people could search and look up content even after 10 or 20 years, which might not be easy to do on social media platforms.

How does it work with the different languages on your blog?

My blog is in both Chinese and English, but I don’t translate them, I write them differently as no language can be expressed in the same way. It’s very time consuming, but I believe it gives readers in Chinese and English a better reading experience. Some readers even use my blog as a way to learn English and Chinese, which I feel is pretty awesome!

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Fanny shares the outfits she wears in her daily life, such as this high-waisted swimsuit from H&M and jean shorts from Melrose market in LA she wore in Greece. She doesn’t only focus on high couture, but shares inspirational ideas for urban, sporty and everyday looks just perfect for active Swedes.

Sweden – Fanny Lyckman

Fanny Lyckman is a Swedish fashion expert. At just 25-years-old, Fanny has created a name for herself in the fashion world. She is not only an award-nominated fashion blogger, but has created a nail polish line in collaboration with NCLA, and designed two collections with the brand Nelly. She is currently working on a fashion line, which she hopes to release this fall.

Although Fanny is a Swedish blogger, thousands of people around the world follow her website and Instagram account. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Fanny says that she gets her style inspiration from following different people on Tumblr. Online, Fanny likes to shop on Asos; as far as physical stores, she prefers Zara, Urban Outfitters, Beyond Retro, Topshop, H&M and River Island. She shares that she can’t live without her jean shorts, and would never be caught in tax-me heels.

Canada – Jen Tam

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Jen not only posts photos of outfits and names of the designers, but also highlights how the clothes can alter the way the body appears. “The off-the-shoulder crop top from Giulietta and wide-legged, high-waisted Vionnet pants are definitely works of art on their own, but the combined proportions did wonders to flatter my shape and made me seem about six feet tall,” she wrote about this outfit.

Her Waise Choice is a blog by Canadian writer, Jen Tam. Her blog’s motto is that everyone can be stylish without looking down on others or being a slave to fashion. Canadians are known for being friendly and approachable, an attitude Jen strongly believes should be incorporated into fashion, which should be “accessible and not intimidating.” Since 2010, Jen has tried to inspire her readers, everyday women, to dress with approachable style that fits in with Canadian culture.

Jen is not afraid to be brutally honest, which undoubtedly appeals to her readers. For example, in a recent post, she shared: “I’m often still not totally happy with the way a certain piece fits, or I’ll wish I could change a detail or two about an overall look. It’s quite rare for an outfit to be executed in a way where I feel like all the elements really work.”

In a recent interview with Top 100 Style, Jen shares her style rules.

What’s one go-to piece every woman should own?

The perfect pair of black jeans.

Dress up or dress down?

I’ve always been a believer of being a little more dressed up but lately I’ve been more inclined to be comfortable. I think this has something to do with the fact that my style has been evolving into a slightly edgier vibe in the last year or two.

What’s one fashion rule you’re proud of breaking?

No white after Labor day—white is a great tone to wear year round and I especially love white on white winter wear!

If you need access to fashion blogs and global blog data, you can find everything you need at Twingly.com

By Renata Ilitsky

“The social media monitoring we know today and as it would be in 5-10 years, has to be considered a highly strategic activity”

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Gianandrea Facchini

Interview with Gianandrea Facchini, CEO of Buzzdetector, a digital intelligence company in Italy

Hi Gianandrea, what is your background and what is included in your current role at Buzzdetector?

I worked in media and advertising agencies since the 1990s. In 2007, I founded Buzzdetector. My role as CEO is not only to manage the company, but try to be the engine behind the company. I try to look ahead and to get a vision of what’s going on in the market, such as new trends in our business.

I was very lucky because when I started to get into media and digital in general, I landed in a community called MarketingProfs, where I had the chance to interact with professionals such as Ann Handley, Scott Monty, and many others from all over the world. Interaction with prominent figures like them gave me an opportunity to get an early vision of the digital space, widened my vision about what’s going on in the business.

What differs Buzzdetector from other social media intelligence companies in Italy?

We are a rather small company, even if we act globally. We didn’t go for the most advanced technology from the beginning, but rather tried to specialized on decoding the information for our clients. We have our platforms and tools, and are not simply renting the platform, but renting the ability to decode and transfer all the information and insights into reports. This is the main difference; we are very experienced in providing clients with insights, and customized reports have been our key point since the beginning.

What type of companies benefit from your services?

We work mainly with multinational companies and high end clients. Since 2008, we have worked with Nestlé; we worked with Boehringer Ingelheim, a German pharmaceutical company for five years; MSC cruises at the global level since 2011; Versace; and HOMI, the most prominent trade show in Italy.

You have recently done some extensive research about the fashion industry. Why did you focus on that?

When we started thirty months ago, we were just doing a test on some tool to develop and we choose the Fashion Industry because it was the week of Pitti in Florence, but something interesting came out from this research, so we pushed on this analysis, which ended up becoming rather extensive.

We followed the most important fashion weeks (New York, London, Milan, Paris), and all the influential people and VIPs, such as celebrities around the fashion market, became very interesting for us. We collected information and categorized it in a deep way. All the materials we collected have been categorized, such as conversations, fabrics, individuals and brands, which are now in our database. The categorization took extensive work because we understood that the market was and is rather peculiar, and this was one of the markets that was most disrupted by digital. It became interesting for us to follow this market, which is why we developed The Signal. This is a pure digital intelligence project.

We are expanding this research to the movie and the music industries; in fact, we have already started to put this in place since we have the technology backbone, so we just have to fill it up with information.

What are your most important takeaways from your research about the fashion industry?

First, it’s an industry where the most relevant actors are just looking individually for their own way to face the digital disruption. Fashion brands mostly belong to associations in each of the main countries. But, nonetheless, each brand is trying to look for their own way to tackle digital; there’s nothing in common. There’s a lot of confusion, that is the main takeaway.

Second, most of the activity seems to be tactical and not coming from a real strategy. The activity comes after the creation and the unique idea of the designer for that season; the digital becomes part of the tactic to launch the collection, it’s not part of the strategic weapon of the companies.

I used to work in the fashion industry before working in advertising agencies, and I know that the creation of the collection is the main engine of the industry, which is absolutely right. Then there is no real strategy to dominate the media or a strategic approach to digital.

Third, even though we are being told that Twitter is dying or being buried, prominent individuals like celebrities and VIPs in industries like fashion, movies and music are keeping this platform alive because they have huge audiences on Twitter. Rihanna’s Twitter followers amount to double of her Instagram followers, for example. Why would she leave Twitter? She will keep it to communicate with and to sell to her audience. So, one of the main reason Twitter is still being used is because of celebrities and VIPs.

Do you have any specific plans to expand your business in the near future, like expand to new markets or develop products?

The Signal is a new product that we launched two weeks ago. We have a couple of really prominent organizations in the fashion and luxury industries testing it now.

It is a digital platform that we developed in which markets are tackled vertically and where the categorization within the market is making the difference.

For the Fashion and Luxury market we created a dataset of 75 brands, 97 fashion bloggers, 116 celebrities, 49 editors, 58 magazines, etc. We can use the data for public relations, media and celebrity strategy and competitive analysis. The main goal of The Signal is to provide companies with data sets of information that gives real insight and intelligence.

We are proud of the research we published along with Exane Paribas, one of the most important consultancy companies. We produced a piece of research which includes 36 brands in luxury and fashion, the digital environment and how they face the digital environment.

We looked for a link between the moment when collections are presented to the buyers, journalists and to the public, and the moment when people go to look for a product they saw in a collection on an e-commerce platform.

We found that hashtags used during an event, an advertising campaign die immediately after the operation and are not used as a hook to keep customers engaged with the brand. Hashtags are not used strategically to help find a product on an e-commerce platform. We ran a test and saw that the same products run in a completely different way on each e-commerce platform, with none of the descriptions having the same wording.

As a consequence it’s difficult for consumers to find products online. The e-commerce platforms are driving the search and not the brand, which is a problem. Brands are opening their own stores, but they can’t maintain control of the product online as they do in the physical world.

What are your greatest challenges ahead at Buzzdetector when it comes to developing your offer?

That’s a good question; the greatest challenge is that whenever we enter into a conversation with multinational corporations, it is difficult to make them understand that it’s not the size of the company that makes a difference, but the overall approach.

We are used to working with these kind of companies. It’s not just a matter of making the technology work; the most advanced monitoring platforms, with hundreds of millions invested in development, provide almost the same results as a small platform if you are good at writing the query.

The real problem is trying to get sentiment analysis that truly works; today it doesn’t work algorithmically. It can be correct 60 to 70 percent of the time when you’re really lucky, and a company can’t make a decision with a 30 percent margin for error.

Are there any social platforms that are closed today that you would be interested in tapping into for monitoring that would benefit your customers?

I would love to see Snapchat’s numbers. The most important platforms of the close future are the messaging platforms where you can’t have access, which I’m not questioning. This is the reason why we’re shifting towards the digital intelligence, collecting information in conversations from the brand’s point of view.

Since we can’t collect conversations as we do on the open platforms, our work has to adapt to the reality of the new platforms taking the market. We as a market have to modify the way we follow conversations to adapt to the new platforms.

What kind of data or media that you do not have monitoring on today can be interesting in the future?

Photos are rather important, as well as videos. I don’t foresee any real solutions in a close timeframe on monitoring them. I’m afraid that photo and video recognition could become the new sentiment analysis of the time, with the accuracy being rather low.

Are there specific or typical needs in the Italian market for social media monitoring that you think differs from the rest of Europe or the world in general?

I see a focus on pure reputation analysis, which disturbs me. Monitoring is not just a matter of perception; social media monitoring is something strictly linked to the strategic approach of a company to the market and its audience. When you’re limiting your analysis to the reputation, you are clearly doing basic work. In my opinion, in the Italian market, pure reputation analysis is still too much adopted. A lot of companies are losing information for growing and expanding their market at home and abroad.

How do you think the media monitoring and social intelligence industry will change in the next five years?

Messaging is impacting the industry because we can’t get in this as we can in other social media platforms. We have to find a way to follow the conversation, but it will be crucial to the organization to control and stimulate the conversation with the customers because they won’t have any other chance to find out what customers are talking about in messages.

This is a call to action to a more proactive strategy on behalf of companies to customers. Whenever you can’t follow the conversation between individuals, the only information you will get is the one around the conversation you can stimulate for them. From a monitoring point of view, this is changing everything because you have to go through more relevant semantic analysis, which is taking the lead of what will happen in this industry in the next five years.

The social media monitoring we know today and as it would be in five or 10 years, has to be considered a highly strategic activity. It has the ability to positively impact an entire strategy, product development, sales, commercial aspects, communication aspects and logistics. Social media monitoring has the ability to impact every aspect of a corporation’s life.

By Renata Ilitsky