Mark Higginson

How attention flows on the web


21 August 2013

How many cars do you sell in New Delhi?

I get a strong sense that many marketing campaigns are about holding a mirror up to the business paying the invoice and murmuring complimentary things. I refer to this as ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’; as long as the marketing department looks on-the-job it’s in no-one’s interests to ask awkward questions.

This presentation from ‘We Are Social’ about work for Jaguar is entitled ‘engaging the right audiences’. This means by the end of the presentation the viewer should understand who the correct audience is and what is meant by ‘engagement’. We Are Social divide the audience into people who are able and want to purchase a Jaguar and ‘cheerleaders’, an ‘aspirational’ audience of fans who can bring “enormous value”.

In terms of ‘understanding the audience’ what is presented is not anything specific to Jaguar. “Strong visual content works best”. This is a given. Across several sites I’ve worked on comprising some 1,000 plus posts I have found that those containing video content were five to seven times more likely to be clicked on and image content, where the image or images were the focus of the post, were three times more likely to be clicked-on than a text-only post. Likewise, the recommendation you ask questions on a platform that allows for a response is not an insight. Making the content thematically relevant is also generally a good idea! I expect to see more than a demonstration of common sense from someone delivering an analysis of paid-for work.

The other promotional work is all pretty standard-fare, if you have the budget. Tease the product launch, get a celebrity involved, sponsor something people like, e.g. a sport, offer a way of experiencing the product, and so on. What is left ambiguous is how ‘We Are Social’ were involved in actually creating this stuff. For instance, a Ridley Scott film to promote the car will pretty much generate interest all on its own. You don’t need an agency to ‘make this social’. Same goes for using Lana Del Rey. They have pop-cultural resonance, which is why you pay them a lot for the association. People will then talk about it anyway; what matters is how the perception of the association is shaped. That would have been interesting to read about.

However, perception is not measured in numbers of ‘fans’. A statement such as “The 3rd most engaged-with UK brand on Facebook” is only relevant if the audience doing the engaging is going to buy the product or strongly influence people who might buy the product, as ‘We Are Social’ themselves identified. Facebook tells us that the most popular city that people are from who are active on the Page is New Delhi and that the most popular age group is 18 to 24 years olds. This is borne out by checking who ‘Likes’ each post. Now, perhaps this is due to Jaguar being owned by Tata but I leave you to draw your own conclusions about whether the ‘right audience’ has been ‘engaged’. I would have been more interested if the increase in fans in Jaguar’s target markets had been indicated, but I imagine the ‘need for client confidentiality’ would be cited. If I were Jaguar I’d be having a hard look at this. I don’t see the “enormous value” here and the lack of evidence of subsequent sharing makes the definition of this as ‘social media’ debatable.

tl;dr The web makes it fairly easy to check out the claims people make. Don’t take what is said at face value. If there is data available see whether there is a trend. If people are able to comment on something check how many comments have been made and what they say.

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