Results tagged “Disqus” from IABlog

Following efforts in the content marketing and native advertising space, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) continued with the October 21 Town Hall focused on best practices for user-generated content (UGC). Brands, publishers and agencies gathered at the IAB Ad Lab to present UGC case studies, offer tips on successful UGC strategies and discuss legal concerns involved.

Susan Borst, Director of Industry Initiatives, IAB, opened the Town Hall by welcoming members and guests before highlighting the benefits of UGC available to all players in the digital ecosystem. Borst defined the terms of the debate and outlined what qualifies as UGC sources noting that UGC can be either paid or organic. 

User-Generated Content Best Practices 
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Eryn Ivey, Account Director/NE, Izea, and Michael Sadicario, Chief Sales Officer, Storyful spoke about how user-generated content works, what the benefits are, and where the industry is headed. Sadicario and Ivey offered five tips for brands and publishers exploring UGC strategy:
  1. Analyze the content ecosystem - from sites of interest and user relationships desired to metrics and questions of attribution, the process involves homework.
  2. Celebrate fans (with contests, repurposing content) and explore different types of compensation.
  3. Identify other sites where users engage with your brand and “trend” there.
  4. Set internal goals (KPIs) and promote user engagement.
  5. Learn how to engineer content - leveraging UGC in real time is key, as is knowing when to sit out the content storm.

Justin Garrity, President, Postano/TigerLogic, offered 10 tips on executing user-generated content campaigns. Garrity highlighted lessons learned in UGC including how to set ground rules, ideas to leverage influencer content and best practices on everything from hashtags (they can’t work alone!) to selfies (they need props!).

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On the brand safety best practices front, Tom O’Brien, National Advertising Director, Disqus, reviewed  some well-known “hashtag horror stories” that can occur with UGC and highlighted how brands use commenting platforms such as Disqus to leverage their “ability to mitigate and pre-moderate” UGC discussion by setting the terms. O’Brien cited a 2013 Adobe study that showed a rise in consumer commenting and highlighted brands that are using the Disqus commenting platform successfully such as Dove with the “Real Beauty” campaign. He also noted that it is the publisher or brand site that sets the level of moderation based on their needs.

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Insights from UGC Case Studies
There are many executions of UGC campaigns from crowd-sourced content, influencer campaigns/sponsored social, user reviews and comments, UGC for events and intelligence and so much more.  IAB members and special guests highlighted case studies, including some legal considerations for their campaigns.

New IPSOS Research & Why Hershey’s is Sweet on Authentic UGC
Anna Lingeris, Sr. Manager, Brand Public Relations & Consumer Engagement, The Hershey Co., presented the first case study. Lingeris described her company’s approach when looking to leverage user-generated content in promoting Hershey’s Spreads. After a great deal of pre-launch discovery, Hershey “primed the pump” by planting seeds in search engines and establishing parameters of the conversation. Lingeris explained how Hershey leveraged UGC generated by the campaign with Crowdtap to inform future marketing strategies in a technique named later as a best practice. 

Anna Kassoway, CMO, Crowdtap, offered the audience results of the 2014 Ipsos MediaCT study sponsored by Crowdtap and SMAC that demonstrated what user-generated content means to millennials. As one would imagine, UGC is an essential part of daily life for this consumer base. The study showed that millennials are spending over 5 hours per day with user-generated content. Millennials considered UGC 50 percent more trustworthy than other media and 35 percent more memorable than other media.

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A Lens into Earned Media With Canon and Klout
Monica Patterson, Supervisor of Internet Marketing, Canon, presented the next case study with Jon Dick, Sr. Director of Marketing, Klout. From the Project Imagination short film series with Ron Howard to the Pixma Pro City Senses events, Canon has found user-generated content a natural fit for its products. In fact, Canon saw a huge spike in engagement during the City Sense events of 2013 and 2014, with its Pixma Pro line being the beneficiary.

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Publisher TimeOut New York Crowd Sources Instagram Fans for Content
Mike Kelly, Digital Marketing Director, Time Out North America, presented a case study on taking user-generated online content and using it in a print medium - the magazine’s cover. Time Out New York ran an Instagram contest asking for user photos from restaurants the magazine nominated for its annual food and drink awards. Instagram users were more than happy to oblige, with over 1,000 entries along with a 40 percent increase in Instagram engagement over six months as a result of the contest. Retweets to 31 million followers highlighted the success of the foray into UGC.

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How Industry Reviews Helped the Travel Industry Take Flight
David Elkins, Director of Sales, TripAdvisor, presented a case study for a company whose content is exclusively user-generated. Elkins related the findings of a Cornell University study showing why travel brand owners are paying as much attention as consumers. Higher review scores allowed hotel owners to charge 11 percent more than their lower-rated competition without lowering occupancy rates. He then showed how travel brands are using TripAdvisor reviews on their own sites and even in their own advertising. 

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Wrapping up the session as it relates to UGC legal considerations, Borst stressed that it is always best to consult your legal team with any questions prior to engaging any UGC campaign. There are many factors that need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The audience stated a strong desire to elaborate on the topic of “legal considerations” in future IAB initiatives.

View the full Town Hall presentation deck and the UGC Digital Simplified overview.

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. 
She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst


Reporting by Eric Schaal, IAB Editorial 


“Social Influence” is a hot topic. There is no shortage of opinions on what ‘influence’ actually means and no shortage of companies who seek to analyze influential prospects and customers for business gain. But one thing the industry does seem to agree on is that influencer monitoring and measuring is here to stay as a key component of the paid, owned and earned media equation.

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Scott Milener, SVP Social Strategy from Kred, a social media analytics company created by PeopleBrowsr, recently spoke with the IAB Social Media Committee about this topic. “A social influencer is someone who inspires action from others in their community,” Milener said, adding “We’re accustomed to thinking of top influencers as being celebrities or media outlets. Social analytics gives us an opportunity to move beyond that group to find people that have high influence in small close networks connected by interests, passions and affiliations. These people are exponential in value to non-influencers and can have a profound impact on the opinions of their peers and followers.” A top goal is to “achieve virality by getting influencers to organically and virally spread messages or links.” Milener stressed the importance of valuing influencers by “rewarding, incentivizing and treating them as if they were top journalists.” This engagement with influencers drives brand-related conversations.

We followed up with three IAB member companies present at the meeting to see what role social influence plays in their business’ paid, owned and earned media equation, how it is measured and how they see this evolving in the future.

Raman Kia | Executive Director, Digital Strategy | Conde Nast Media Group | @Raman_Kia

Social Influence is the ability to activate participatory eagerness across one’s social and interest graphs. In the context of social media influence should not solely be defined in terms of conversations and community size, the core tenets of social media, but also in terms of interest based actions which fuel the interest graph. The interest graph is a more powerful mechanism than the social graph when it comes to driving social influence. The influence of the social butterfly is dying. This is because attention is about context. If you want attention you have to provide content that intersects your audience’s path to consumption. In the future, Social Influencers will have more powerful interest graphs than social graphs. Either way, measuring this type of influence in terms of business gain is straightforward, but in order to measure it successfully you must have pre-defined goals. In its most simplified form at Condé Nast, from an acquisition stand point, we are typically measuring referral traffic to our websites, which means Omniture and Google Analytics are predominantly used to measure the success of social influencer programs. In its broadest sense marketing programs have three main pillars: Acquisition, Engagement, and Conversion, and ultimately what to measure and how to measure it depends on your business goals.

Art Zeidman | President | UNRULY Media | @arthurzee

At Unruly, our core business is social video distribution and measurement of video sharing across the web. We define social influence not only by the size and precision of a particular influencers’ social graph, but also by the amount of sharing that they drive of our clients’ video content…and by the amount of meaningful conversation around that content that ensues. We also measure the quality of the engagement that these influencers can stimulate including video dwell time, play rates and the volume and tone of subsequent conversation. In Unruly’s view, these are all legitimate criteria for measuring influence. We measure the power of this influence for brands every day. In fact, we published a white paper earlier this year that demonstrates the exponential value of recommendation across social media and how that can translate into ROI for marketers. At Unruly, we see social influence growing in importance for brand marketers over the long haul. The real power of digital media is its ability to facilitate a feedback loop. As marketers grow more comfortable with having an ongoing conversation with their consumers, more and better influencers will emerge. The democratization of the web means that anyone can be a publisher…with the widening and deepening of social platforms, it’s a natural progression that anyone can become an influencer as well!

David Fleck | GM | Disqus | @davidericfleck

At Disqus, we strive to create engaging communities and to elevate the quality of discussions. In June we rebuilt our platform specifically to more fully capture and incorporate social influence signals from our large user base (800 million monthly uniques, 300 million monthly active users). For instance, Disqus displays the best comments at the top of the discussion thread based in large part on community voting and user reputation scores. Another example is the social discovery of content via our Discovery box whereby users receive personalized content recommendations based on what they (and users similar to them) have read and engaged with across Disqus-enabled sites. We are also excited about the monetization opportunities around social discovery because it allows advertisers to natively enter the conversation while also being complementary to the user experience. In the future, social influence will take an ever-expanding role in everything we do. Why? Because doing so drives tangible results. For example, traffic that is referred by Disqus social discovery performs much better than other referral sources…on average 2X the page views and 3X the time on site versus other referrers. Our success depends upon capitalizing on the richness of our data, a key component of which is social influence.

This blog series focuses on key areas of interest within the realm of paid, owned and earned media and taps into the expertise of IAB Social Media Committee members to share insights and best practices. What’s your take on social influence? Join in the conversation by commenting here or posting comments and/or questions using #IABPOEM.

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B and Games. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.