All Posts in Research

April 17, 2015Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Ofcom considers deregulation to take growing power of internet into account

The shift to digital in recent years has meant an uphill challenge for British communications regulator, Ofcom, as it seeks to adapt its own regulations to the changing media and telecoms landscape.

Credit: Ofcom

Picture Credit: Ofcom

In her first interview since being appointed as Ofcom's chief in December, Sharon White said that deregulation and a lighter approach needs to be considered to reflect the tectonic shifts in how people read and watch content, as well as talk.

Ofcom has just begun its first review of the British communications market in a decade to take into account the burgeoning impact of the internet, and whether market definitions and regulations need to be redrawn. Ofcom would also need to consider the intersection and blurring distinctions between traditional telecom and media companies.

Live streaming services such as Meerkat and Periscope both present a challenge to the paid-TV world especially with the increasing costs of football rights, for example. While Ofcom traditionally appointed the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) to regulate broadcast advertisements on its behalf, YouTube advertising also falls under the ASA's jurisdiction - the roles both perform and the areas overseen need to be made clearer in this era of greater convergence.

Ten years after its last review and in the age of the internet, the time is now ripe for Ofcom to reconsider regulations especially when changes are unprecedented and happen at much greater speed. It's exciting times ahead for the tech, media, and communications industries and we can't wait to see what happens next.

 


February 19, 2015Published by: Charlie Sharpe

Facebook’s second coming: Could VR research revive the social network?

Virtual-reality-speeltje-of-bruikbare-marketingtool_900_450_90_s_c1_smart_scaleAs you all may be aware, the once giant of social media - Facebook - has been struggling recently. The number of new users joining is declining and, while it now has 1.35 billion users across the globe - 35 million ahead of Youtube - other social platforms are beginning to close the gap. It is fast becoming a common view that the site is inundated with advertising and is no longer popular among social media's target audience - Facebook is out of date. Some reports have even suggested that the network’s days are numbered and that the near future is one without it.

However, almost a year after the company's $2bn acquisition of the virtual reality company Oculus VR, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox has announced that research into virtual reality app creation has begun. "The first time you're in [a virtual world], you realize you are looking at the future," Cox said. "You look around, and it's beautiful." (PC Magazine). Cox went on to explain that, when users share videos, posts, photos etc on Facebook they are not just sharing media - they are sharing an experience. Could this be a sign of a daring comeback? Only time will tell.

For now though Cox has announced that the technology is still a long way away so don't expect to be reliving your friend's ski trips or a Beyonce concert tomorrow!  The same is true for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, but for now Facebook can only hope that VR technology will be its saviour.

December 1, 2014Published by: Charlie Sharpe

The Influence of Social Media in Modern Politics in the UK

TwitterUntil recently many have underestimated the power of social media in politics. However two recent events have demonstrated the importance of it.

Many political campaigners may take the traditional view that social media cannot influence the reputations and success of politicians, however more and more politicians are beginning to establish themselves on social media platforms. On average 85% of Members of Parliament (based on research of the 73 London constituencies) now have accounts YouTube, Facebook or Twitter that are managed by themselves or their offices.

Furthermore, in the last few weeks, two events have really highlighted the importance of social media in modern politics; the sacking of the Labour MP Emily Thornberry from her position of shadow Attorney General over a tweet from the labour campaign in Rochester, and the rise of the #CameronMustGoTwitter campaign.

While social media can be used as an effective campaigning tool, a lack of experience and understanding can be fatal in politics. Ed Miliband’s decision to sack Emily Thornberry over the Rochester tweet has attracted more attention from the wider media than the tweet itself, drawing significant negative press around the Labour party as a whole. This could prove to have a significant impact for the Labour party campaign in the fast approaching 2015 elections. Had Miliband demonstrated a better understanding of the power of social media could reputational damage have been avoided?

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 16.23.16The second example, #CameronMustGo, was initially dismissed by fellow MP’s who predicted it would have little influence and would quickly disappear. However, after five days the hashtag had been mentioned 420,178 times and had an astonishing potential reach of 573,844,914 people. While some of these tweets may have been light hearted in nature, the sheer volume of such a negative hashtag are clearly not a welcome outcome for a party gearing up to an election.

These two recent examples demonstrate the potential risk of social media in modern day politics, however it’s important to note that social can be used as a successful campaigning tool if used and approached appropriately. Labour MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna, has amassed a sizable online community - his Twitter page has 87,112 followers and his Facebook page has 13,065 likes.

One of the key reasons for Umunna’s social media success (aside from avoiding controversy!) are the regularity of his posts and the informal and casual way he and his office approach these updates. Chuka uses YouTube to post a variety of videos which not only address political issues but also demonstrate an interest in his voters through topical events such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and Notting Hill Carnival. Many people involved in politics on social media may dismiss this approach as not focusing on the most important elements of the job, however it has clearly won him a supportive online community.

Overall, while many politicians have struggled with the risks associated with social media, it is clear that there are opportunities for politicians to engage with a disillusioned electorate in a brand new way. As it becomes clearer that the future electorate is online it is becoming far more important for the politicians to be able to communicate with them.


November 21, 2014Published by: Pauline Leger

Changes are afoot at Facebook… again!

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Things are changing again on planet Facebook. Last week, the social media giant announced its decision to reduce visibility of overly promotional posts on your timeline from brand pages. Next came Facebook at work, a unique service with the same features as Facebook that you could use exclusively with your work colleagues - a potential rival to LinkedIn. This was swiftly followed by the announcement that a new app had been developed to cluster all your groups together in one place. So what does all this mean for brands and users of Facebook?

Promotional Facebook posts

Results from a recent satisfaction survey conducted on hundreds of thousands of people about what they'd most like to see change on Facebook were pretty clear. Users want to read more about their friends and the pages they liked, and less about promotional content from brands.

Three particular types of content that just are a no-no for the users include:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

While Facebook has some measures in place to lessen the frequency posts from brands, promotional content comes mostly from those pages which the users had chosen to like. Ads however, are managed with tight controls over promotional text on images and through paid targeting.

From January 2015, Facebook will be activating new measures to limit posts that are too pushy or promotional. Brands will therefore have to re-work their messaging, as anything considered too sales oriented, using promotion out of context or re-using content from ads will not be visible.

Facebook at work

According to anonymous sources, Facebook is testing a new version of it's social network called Facebook at work. Many companies restrict or limit the use of Facebook at work but it seems this could soon be a thing of the past with 'Facebook at work' - a version for professionals that would offer the exact same options as the original website with a news feed, messenger and groups and yet be completely separate from Facebook itself. If 'Facebook at work' comes to life, it could be a massive hit, allowing people to use the internal social network to communicate with their peers, managers and the like without having to feel guilty or to face potential issues. Facebook have not commented on the leaked news so far but it has been widely shared in the media.

Facebook groups

Last but not least, a new Facebook app, 'Facebook Groups', was made available few days ago. 'Share what you care about with the people who care about it most' is the message the social network is delivering to invite users to come and view all their groups in one single app - just as we saw with the launch of messenger. This new app will allow them to interact and jump from community to community in a more seamless manner. Although groups is one of their main features, the expectation is that this will increase and encourage it's use.

What's next I wonder? To be continued...

November 19, 2014Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Apple users like grilled halloumi and exercising, while Google users spend 50+ hours online a week

Ever wanted to experiment with research on what audience your brand resonates with the most? Or flip that maybe, what brands, media, social media and people your target audience trust the most? Enter YouGov Profiles.

Last week YouGov unveiled its media planning and audience segmentation tool at the Festival of Marketing which aims to provide marketers with a more detailed insight into the lives of their customers, as well as the products and services they use. However it is only since yesterday that it has taken the internet by storm with publications such as The Guardian, The Times, and CNET reporting about it, and with over a thousand people logging on to the app each second.

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YouGov collates this data by integrating 120,000 data points from more than 200,000 active UK panellists collected in the YouGov Cube to illustrate how each person engages with traditional (TV, radio, newspapers) and new media (online, mobile, social), which it dubs as being “unique to the research industry”.

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YouGov profiles consumers by looking specifically at their demographics and lifestyle, brand usage and perceptions, media consumption, digital and mobile behaviour, social media activities, and attitudes and opinions. For example, a quick search of Apple reveals that most of its users are females aged between 25 – 39 in Media/Publishing or Advertising/Marketing/PR who like exercising and who sometimes splash out on products they might not need. Apple users also describe themselves as “clever”, prefer shopping at Waitrose, and spend between 31 – 35 hours/per week online.

The data doesn’t show a “typical” customer, but those whom the search subject would appeal to most, according to YouGov. With over 30,000 search terms available, YouGov Profiles highlights the importance of big data in providing an insightful portrait of consumers and will no doubt be a useful tool for marketers in future.


September 12, 2014Published by: Steph Bennett

Facebook’s latest experiment

FB SnapFacebook has once again started experimenting with new capabilities by following in the footsteps of Snapchat and enabling users of the iOS app to produce disappearing posts. The new option allows users to set an expiration date for their posts ranging from one hour to seven days. This new function was not only a response to the ever growing teenage market for disappearing messages, one that Snapchat has led for the last three years leading to an approximate valuation of $10 billion, but also an outcome of the interest Facebook users showed in automatically deleting posts.

This is now the third attempt at a deleting message app that Facebook has produced since June; the first of which was the relatively unsuccessful Slingshot. Slingshot was an app that operated in a similar way to Snapchat but required users to send a picture to view a picture. However, this proved to be unpopular with users and, as a result, Facebook removed the one aspect of the app that made it distinctive from Snapchat. Within a month of this failed attempt to unseat Snapchat the Facebook owned app Instagram released Bolt, another attempt to threaten Snapchats dominance in the ephemeral photo sharing market.

At these early stages the new function for Facebook is only available for testing in New Zealand; however, if this new ability proves popular enough it will without doubt be turned very quickly into a globally available tool for all Facebook users.

For more information read here.

February 21, 2014Published by: Anton Perreau

Top 5 things we learnt about BuzzFeed

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During the morning of Friday 21 February Battenhall attended the Gorkana briefing from Luke Lewis, Editor of BuzzFeed UK. In true BuzzFeed style, we thought we'd summarise our findings with a few cute gif images:

1. In the UK, always share stuff that's fun and interesting

Luke shared with us that whilst in the USA content that is emotive strikes a tone - the more fun content is popular in the UK.

2. Don't hate, it's just no fun

BuzzFeed even specifies 'no haters' in their job applications. Just don't do it.

3. Niche subject matters are important, not SEO

Focus on small communities in the UK, specific subjects or articles that directly relate to a small community that will share it.

4. Experiment with things all the time

Always say 'yes' to new ideas, if they don't go well, you've learned.

5. Hard news, fun quizzes and silly facts can all live harmoniously in one place

In the future BuzzFeed UK is looking to include more hard-hitting news alongside it's current fun, shareable and interesting content.

 To read more from the Gorkana breakfast briefing with Luke Lewis, head to our LIVE GOOGLE DOC.