Algorithms as the new editors

By Adrian Ma

If you catch me in an 'in-between' moment, you'll most likely find me scrolling through one of my feeds on Facebook or Instagram. It was while scrolling through Facebook that I learned of the death of Delores O'Riordan from the Cranberries. In fact, it's where I discover a lot of news.

I'm not alone in here. A Reuters study points out, 51% of us are now using social media as a news source, which marks a shift in news and content discovery that we need to build into our own working practices.

the role of gatekeeper to news stories is falling out of the hands of editors, and into the hands of the algorithms that promote organic content on our feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.

I don’t think that algorithms will completely replace editors. I certainly hope not, anyway (that’s another topic). But as PRs, it’s our role to manage the visibility of brand reputation, and because of this, we need to adapt our way of working to ensure that we’re considering the role of the social algorithm in content discovery.

Let’s use the Facebook algorithm as an example. Facebook breaks down the steps to its newsfeed algorithm into four stages

  1. Inventory – Facebook takes an inventory of the stories that you and your friends have posted and the pages you follow
  2. Signals – Facebook considers all data available to determine how interested you will be in a story (these include who posted a story and how much engagement it has had)
  3. Predictions – Facebook then uses signals to make a prediction to calculate how probably you are to read, comment or share a story
  4. Score – Facebook generates a ‘relevancy’ score

 

This process happens every time you open Facebook, and determines what your feed looks like.

Changes that Facebook announced recently may, of course, change all this. But the one thing that remains clear is that if you’re working on a story that you want to be discovered, it’s important to consider the role of ‘Signals’ in discovery. This is true of any social media platform and the algorithms work in very similar ways.

Mainly, this means that if you want your content (whether it be a piece of coverage, or something direct from a brand) to be seen, it’s got to be something that receives engagement.

Of course, there are those that seek to ‘game’ these algorithms. I’ve known Instagram influencers to create WhatsApp groups (or ‘Pods’, as they call them), with fellow influencers to announce when a piece of content is posted, so that they can all ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on it at the same time in the hope that it will increase visibility.

We’re not suggesting that you adopt these practices. In the long term, these algorithms always wise up to them, and you’d run the risk of being penalised as a result of these ‘Black Hat’ practices.

But at the very least, you should be considering your role after a piece of coverage has been landed, or a piece of content is live. Life doesn’t stop with coverage. In fact, for many of our clients, it’s just the start and it's our job to work with them to help get it discovered.

For more about Facebook’s algorithm, check out this article on Social Examiner.


Five 2016 sporting campaigns at the top of their game

By Joey Green

June and July saw Euro 2016 and Wimbledon hitting our screens, which was an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.

We saw England’s embarrassing exit from the Euros 2016 AKA Brexit 2.0, Murray’s Wimbledon win, Iceland’s terrifying Viking clap (it’s why we lost, right? Riiight?) and the infamous scratch and sniff incident from Germany boss Joachim Low, bleeugh.

However, we also got to see brands utilising the events of the year so far, to engage consumers. With big sporting events like these, it’s inevitable that many brands want to jump on the bandwagon. As Rio 2016 approaches, let’s see who cut through with the most inspiring and creative campaigns?

Carlsberg

We’re a big fan of Christ Kamara in this office so when Carlsberg packed him off on the tube, dressed as an older gentleman to reward unsuspecting tube travellers who offered up their seat with tickets, we loved it. Part of the ‘If Carlsberg did substitutions’ campaign, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming, it tackles an on-going discussion about offering seats and it got a tonne of coverage. Kudos to Carlsberg.

Evian 

In order to engage Wimbledon fans and those that like to shake their bootay, Evian launched their ‘Wimbledon Wiggle’ (a move inspired by tennis players) campaign where they asked consumers to send in moves, which were posted on the Evian Facebook page. Here at Fanclub, we love a campaign which utilises user-generated content and the likes of Jonathan Ross, Mollie King and Holly Willoughby all got involved with the wiggle.

Copa 90

Bringing together football and current technology trends, Copa 90 created a chatbot specifically for Euro 2016 to keep fans in the know throughout. Content included everything from guides to articles. Although not in-your-face creative, we like the use of new technology trends to reach an engaged audience and actually provide value, the innovative idea received a lot of pick-up in the tech press.

Orange

Continuing with the innovation theme (oh, we do love to see how people use data), we want to give a nod to Orange who analysed each day’s tweets during Euro 2016 to see which nation’s hashtag was used the most and lit up the Eiffel tower in that team’s colours. Again, use of data, a landmark, and some great colours, made a lovely GIF.

Morrisons

After Andy Murray took home the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, Morrisons rebranded its Wimbledon store to Murriwins, complete with sign. Although the store did it before after Murray’s 2013 win, you have to give some credit for recycling a great, quick-fire idea (and hopefully the sign).

With Wimbledon and Euro 2016 out the way, we’re looking forward to seeing what Rio 2016 will bring.


The 6 integrated client-agency set-ups

Client-agency relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Dave Lewis, the boss of Tesco recently appointed BBH for advertising and Mediacom for media on the basis that they served him well at Unilever and he has a good relationship with them. We’re seeing the results of these appointments in the campaigns for this supermarket this Christmas, featuring Ruth Jones and Ben Miller.

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it was moving all Land Rover global creative advertising and social media work into Spark 44, an agency which it had created.

A study conducted by a company called R3 Worldwide, identified six models client-agency set-ups. Here’s a quick break-down on the models, along with our thoughts on pros and cons

  1. Multiple Best in Class – here, the client leads with the integration, selecting the best creative, media, PR, event agencies etc., to serve their needs, regardless of who owns them. This is the most common set up and the one that Dave Lewis has adopted. To work well, it requires a large marketing team and agencies that play nicely.
  2. Lead Agency Model – where the onus is on one lead agency to drive successful integration. P&G uses this model and this accounts for 25% of client-agency set-ups. This can mean tighter client-agency co-ordination and requires a lot of trust in that agency to drive strategy and delivery.
  3. Sibling Agency Model – where a client is engaged with a group or network and their sister agencies. This accounts for 20% of setups. This can be great for clients with small marketing teams, because there’s a single agency point of contact. But it can mean that the agencies may not be best in class.
  4. Holding Company Custom Agency – this works well for Apple, Ford and Colgate and looks like the direction that Jaguar Land Rover is heading towards with Spark44. This is where the client creates its own custom agency. Great for controlling the strategy and costs but can lead to challenges in findings and keeping the brightest talent and getting a fresh perspective on things.
  5. The Free Agent – where a roster of agencies pitch for each project. This set-up is used by Sony and can be great for delivery of tactical work. However, the lack of consistency may mean less strategic governance.
  6. One Stop Shop - less common in Europe, but more so in Japan, Korea and Brazil, where one agency does everything for that client.

 

The effectiveness of these models really depends on the individual challenges of the client. Throughout our careers, we've been part of many of these sets ups, and often, it's the big ideas that drive integration. But successful integration doesn't just come from the set-up or the idea, it’s investment into time.

For agencies, this means “walking the corridors”, and investing in time to build relationships with agency partners. For clients, this means thinking long term with all agency partners.

Unilever and JWT recently celebrated 110 years together. Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer credits long-term relationships as “part of our success”. If this teaches us anything, it’s that respect, trust and the ability to build and adapt relationships pays dividends.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check it R3 Worldwide’s study here.