Over the influence? The future of social media – just-drinks FUTURES Vol.7 – FREE TO ACCESS – just-drinks.com

Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:41 am

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When Mark Zuckerbergand his college friendsinvented Facebook inthe early 2000s, they changedthe way we see the world. Although social media pre-datesFacebook, the platform captured the moment. Accordingto Statista, the number of activeFacebook users broke 1bn way back in 2012, making it "the first socialnetwork ever to do so". At thesame time, the smartphonewas busy becoming not onlymore sophisticated but alsomore affordable.

The latest report from just-drinks FUTURES considers the future role of social media for food and drinks brand owners

Fast-forward to today andHootsuite's 2019 Facebookstats analysis says 88% ofFacebook users are accessingthe social network via a mobiledevice.

As new social media platformsemerge and consumer needschange, even the behemoth thatis Facebook has had to workhard to keep up, acquiring Instagram in 2012 and WhatsAppin 2014.Now, according to Hootsuite, 1bn people use Instagramevery month (500m every day)and 71% of Instagrammers areunder 35 years old.In fact, says Hootsuite, 45% ofthe total world population usessocial media. That's 3.48bn people - and 3.26bn of them usemobile devices to access socialmedia, up 10% from 2018.

In the latest edition of FUTURES, we explore what thenext generation of social media platforms might look like.We outline the trends behindchanging consumer needs andexplore our evolving relationshipwith data. As with all FUTURESreports, we finish with a look atwhat food and drinks companies can do now, to ensure theyare prepared.

The State Of Social Media

In the US, 47% of the population uses Instagram, up from 16%in 2014. In South Korea, just 7% of the population used Instagram in 2014 and use is now at 50%. Meanwhile, use in the UKhas risen from 13% in 2014 to 39% in 2019.

Use peaked in most markets in 2017 - at 82% in the US and73% in the UK. In 2019, use has dipped and is now at 73% inthe US and 69% in the UK.

In the US, just 10% of the overall population uses Twitch, in the UKit's even lower at 6%. But, among men aged 16 to 24, use jumps upsignificantly - to 32% in the US and 24% in the UK.

63% of Americans aged 16 to 24 and 66% of Britons of the same ageuse Snapchat. However, just 11% of Americans and 5% of Britons aged 45 to54 use it.


According to Jaana Jatyri, founder of trendforecasting agencyTrendstop, personalisation continues to be a huge and growingsocial media trend. Looking athow this will play out in the future, Jatyri says: "Bots will giveway to more sophisticated AItools which will allow brands tocreate personalised posts thatmake their user feel involvedand unique."

The latest digital revolution is in full swing and,according to PwC, by2020 there will be "close to seventimes the number of connecteddevices as people on the planet". Moreover, the way we seeadvertising is changing. Hootsuite suggests 50% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennialsbelieve social media is the mostrelevant ad channel.

There is now a push forunfiltered, 'real' content, says Laura Dennehy, head of content innovationat UK consumer trends company Foresight Factory. She highlights how some members ofGeneration Z have 'Finsta' accounts. "They typically have twoInstagram accounts. Their mainone, where they post glossy,perfect pictures. Then they havea Finsta account - which standsfor 'fake Instagram' - but it's actually more real and they haveclose friends following themand will post pics of themselveslooking less than perfect," Dennehy says.

She believes this behaviour willgrow over the next five years,driven by authenticity, as consumers get braver about sharing more real content.

As more consumerswake up to wider environmental concerns - including climate change andthe impact of plastic waste - both transparency and socialresponsibility will continue to gohand in hand. Citing a Draperssurvey of 2,000 UK consumers,Trendstop's Jatyri says 46% ofshoppers spend time researching ethical and sustainablebrands to buy from. "Users ofsocial media platforms want tosee authentic content that reflects their personal values ontheir feeds," she adds.

Foresight Factory'sDennehy says 'liquidskills' are a big trendbehind social media behaviours."People love learning but theyare also looking for accessible,easy-to-master and perhapseasy-to-discard skills," she explains. She gives the exampleof tutorials and 'how-to' content, although she also points out it'sdebatable how often people willactually go on and cook a recipefrom a video they've watched.

The Big Interview

In an exclusive interview, FUTURES talksto Ben Sutherland, thechief digital officer at Diageo,about the use of technologyand data in the way the drinksgiant markets its brands on social media.

FUTURES: We seem at a tipping point where social mediamarketing is moving in a different direction. Which way do yousee it heading?

Ben Sutherland: I think that'sfair to say. The past ten yearshave been more about broadcast social media. It's also beenabout how people have been using public social networks. Theshift we're really seeing at themoment is towards more personal and private social - thishas been termed 'dark social'.What's driving that is how increasingly savvy consumers arebecoming and how data-awarethey are.

To some degree, there's been abit of a lost generation, wherepeople are learning how to usetechnology and they're learningthe value of data. What we'reseeing is a flip, where consumers are very well-aware of theimpact of their public personaversus how they want to livetheir lifestyles with their friendship groups in a very separateand private way.

Both from a professional andpersonal context, people areaware that, whilst they havethat right to be forgotten, it'svery difficult to take some stuffback when you put it on socialchannels. For me, it's very muchreflecting that increasing consumer understanding of theimpact of their profile on socialplatforms.

FUTURES: Until quite recently,it's been like the Wild West formarketing on social media. Itused to be quite easy.

Ben Sutherland: If you werejust looking at a reach approachto how you're using social media, it's been quite easy to hitthe numbers. The media measurement of social media hasmeant that, increasingly, peoplehave been looking at trying todecrease their cost-per-thousands. This is contrary to theway Diageo operates.

We're looking for quality reachand we're prepared to pay morefor it. We have those conversations with our social partners.The more confidence we havethat we're talking to the rightpeople of legal purchasing age [LPA] who are interested in productslike ours, then we're prepared topay a premium for that.

Increasingly, our mantra isaround trust and respect being core to the way we operateas a business and as individual brands. What we've alwaystried to do is make sure thattrust and respect arefollowedthrough in terms of how wecommunicateand what we putin front of audiences.

The impact of GDPR from ourperspective has been very positive. You get a slight tensionbetween GDPR and wanting tospeak to people above LPA. The platforms are very aware of howthey should and shouldn't beusing personal data. You needpersonal data to make soundchoices about whether theconsumer is the right age andwhether they're the right audience.

FUTURES: Can you give us anexample of how, from a marketing perspective, Diageo canhave trust and respect for consumers when using social media?

Ben Sutherland: We're tryingto drive better behaviours within the social platforms - andsupporting that with our keycompetitors - to put pressureon the platforms to help makesure we're not advertising tominors. We take that incrediblyseriously.

We take any opportunity we getto improve our targeting andrestrict ourselves. What we'vebeen doing recently is to tablethat with the key platforms totry to drive the use of technology and data to safeguard minors and to safeguard advertisers from advertising to minors.That's a very clear and obviousway of us respecting our consumers and customers.

Ideally, we would never advertise to anyone under age andwe would never advertise to anyone who isn't interested in ourproducts. We've got no interestin advertising to them - it's justwasted money and it's not goodpractice. What we're trying todo with the platforms is makesure they understand there'smore of a feeling of joint responsibility around that. We'realso helping drive their productdevelopment to give us toolsand automated processes thatallow us to eradicate advertising to minors as much as possible.

FUTURES: Looking at the social media channels available,which are the mosteffective for Diageo to get yourmessages to the right audienceof LPA drinkers who are interested in your products?

Ben Sutherland: They all havea role to play. The ability to hitnumbers to recruit and re-recruit is incredibly importantfor us. The same is true of ourbroadcast, digital and socialmedia advertising. Facebookand Instagram are incrediblyimportant.

The messaging apps are becoming increasingly important. Youcan see from the social platforms' investment profile whenthey're looking at instant messaging, people are moving moretowards the private network.There's a huge uptick in thevolume of usage of WhatsAppwhile, in China, WeChat is justenormous.

As they look to improve the consumer journey and the consumerexperience, the social platformswill try to create an integratedecosystem within these messaging platforms.

From a more broadcast perspective, YouTube is always going to be there, delivering goodnumbers. But, we're very cautious about what we do withinYouTube. Reddit is an interesting one - it's more anonymised. I think we could see an uptick inmore privately-driven social networks. They're the ones we'relooking out for at the moment.

The other area that's really interesting is gaming. It's aworldwide audience group withits own social nuances. From asocialising perspective, it's certainly something we're lookingat quite closely. The audience isvery much skewed older as well.When you talk about gaming,you might think about a youngerage group when actually it's 20-plus. In terms of safety aroundadvertising to underage consumers, it's really quite robust.

FUTURES: How do you see'dark social' developing? Howcan companies break into private groups?

Ben Sutherland: The platformswill always seek to monetisethose from a certain perspective, so there will be opportunities. You don't necessarily engage in the conversation butyou'll have the ability to presentyour messages. Like everything,you need to be incredibly respectful of the fact that peopledon't want their journey to beinterrupted.

However, if the right behavioursare being exhibited, it might bethat you present products tothem that are appropriate fortheir journey and for their conversation. You need to be almost invited in. We're alwaysincredibly cautious, but youcan use messaging in the sameway you might use direct mail.You have to be respectful ofthe information that you have.Increasingly, you don't have alot ofinformation on which tomake those judgment calls. Youneed to make sure that your advertising is broadly relevant, andthat people can opt-in as muchas possible.

Our approach is that we wantan opt-in to any advertisingthat we put out. We're reallypro having an opt-in - it meanswe're better able to present theright advertising to the rightpeople.

FUTURES: How do you see theinfluencer role developing? Willthey blow hot and cold, like celebrity promotions?

Ben Sutherland: It's beenvery beneficial to some of ourbrands. When we talk about respect, it's important that anypaid-for partnerships are clearlynoted to consumers, so they understand there's no under-handinfluence. We're very clear onwhat the minimum levels of expectation are.

As it progresses, we'll probablylook to fewer but more meaningful partnerships. What you'llsee is the more mid-tier influencers dropping down. You'llhave the more niche and emerging influencers and then you'llhave the big volume influencerswhere it's almost a business.

Consumers are not stupid -they're the trendsetters. It veryquickly becomes obvious to consumers when you're not beingtrustworthy and respectful -that serves no purpose for usas brands. We try as much aspossible to take the minimumgovernance expectations andratchet them up to the Diageostandard. We err on the side ofbeing ultra-respectful.

FUTURES: How do you seeconsumer data evolving, from apersonalisation and privacy perspective?

Ben Sutherland: There's a tension between needing and wanting the data to make sure we'readvertising to the right peoplebut then also not being able touse the data because of GDPR.As that tension plays out, wewill err on the side of cautionwhen it comes to the usage ofconsumer data. What it is doingis forcing some good practicesinto our business around understanding why we want to collectcertain bits of data and whatwe're going to use them for.

Just because you can collect thedata doesn't mean you should,or that you're even going to useit in any meaningful way. Thequestion I ask internally is, ifwe're going to collect that data,what are consumers going tosee differently as a result? If theanswer is nothing, then let's notbother collecting it, then. It'sforcing that rigour of thinking.

One area we're looking at investing in is brand experiencesmore. That's a perfect opportunity to collect the data of incredibly engaged audiences anduse it in a really respectful wayand in a way that consumersare opted in to. They're moreengaged because they've beenpart of an amazing experience.We're very much focused onthat value exchange and howwe use data to provide a muchbetter experience of our brands.

FUTURES: What about the newconsumers coming through, andthe way they will interact withsocial media?

Ben Sutherland: You're goingto get an increasingly-savvyconsumer base who are muchmore aware of that value exchange between data and experience and data and personalisation of brands. There's anexpectation for consumers tobe involved in the product and inthe personalisation of the product. This will force businesses tothink about how they take thatconsumer interaction and inputinto how you deliver and develop products.

What it's forcing us to do isthink very differently about howwe put campaigns togetherthat are appropriate for nicheaudiences. It's a great way ofengaging with consumers andgetting them involved in ourproducts and brands. The morethat we can do that in a meaningful way, the better the performance of the business willbe.

FUTURES: How can drinkscompanies make sure they keepup to speed with the changes inthe trends in social media, in order to reach new consumers?

Ben Sutherland: We try to create the future, as much as respond to it. We try to be at theleading edge in terms of understanding and the capability ofdigital and social media, so thatwe can safeguard the reputations of our brands. More thananything, we don't want thoseto be tarnished. We feel veryprotective of those brands.

We very much think about engaging with the platforms. Howdo we help the platforms thinkaround that consumer trust aspect? These are young businesses, while we've been doing thisfor years. How do we help themthink of it as an opportunityto stay relevant to consumers?That's why we see GDPR as anopportunity to demonstrate ourrelevance as brands now and inthe future.

FUTURES: Does anyone knowwhat they're doing in this area?Is there a rulebook to follow onhow to successfully market insocial media?

Ben Sutherland: It's constantly evolving. We're working reallyclosely with The InternationalAlliance for Responsible Drinking and the platforms to helppush that as much as possible.How do we automate age gating? How do we improve thecapabilities of the industry togo about respectful marketingwithin the alcohol sector?

We've been having very progressive conversations with theplatforms. We're on a journey toeradicate advertising to minors,and they're responding verypositively. We're clearly seeinga prioritisation in this space andthey're putting both money andresources into fixing these areas, which is gratifying.

The futureof socialmedia

The trend for discoverywill continue to drivesocial media use, believes Genna Osler, industryhead for FMCG at Facebook.

"Food and drink brands that areusing the platform well havevisual storytelling and mobile attheir core," she explains. "This isespecially important for targeting food and drink fans who areincreasingly driven to buy basedon their 'digital hunger'." According to Osler, food and drinkis about feeling part of a community. "Engagement is at itshighest with content that helpsthem to explore new tastes,share experiences and get inspiration."

Osler says this trend will remainbut we will see an evolution inthe way we connect, pinpointing augmented and virtual reality. "Video is already a powerfulplatform for advertisers to connect with their customers, butas AR and VR become part ofthe norm, this will create evenmore opportunities for brandsto make people's mouths water," she says.

These types of experiences arealready being tested and Oslerbelieves they "create even moredepth and immersion, helping tofoster deeper connections" byeffectively enabling a companyto bring its store or products directly to customers.

Foresight Factory's Dennehyalso underscores the future ofvisual search technology. Shesays Pinterest, for example, canrecognise 2.5bn objects.The knock-on effect, she explains, is social browsing becomes online browsing, because"any image you see can give youinspiration and can be feedinginto an algorithm that helps youhunt down things that look likeit".

Dennehy also believes that, inthe next five years, the distinction between social networkswill become less important because almost every platform weuse has some social elements."YouTube [and] Spotify havesome social element where youcan be following friends. Twitchis kind of gaming and kind ofsocial," she says. "Even thingslike Depop, which is a resellingplatform, you follow people, youmessage people."

As we embark on a more connected, more visual social media future, FUTURES exploressome of the key developments.

Facebook's Osler tellsFUTURES that as consumers have moved tomobile, there has also been ashift towards interacting moreusing imagery and video. "Fromvideos in Feed people on average spend five times longerlooking at video than static content - to, most recently,the huge growth of Stories, thefastest-growing format on ourplatform," she says. "Storieshave been on Instagram since 2016 but today, across our platforms, 1bn Stories arecreated every day."

According to Buffer's 2019 'Stateof Social' report, brands are "riding the organic Stories wave"with Stories ads expected to bethe 'next big thing'. (The Bufferstudy involved 1,842 marketingprofessionals in companies ofvarying sizes -from fewer thanten employees to up to 1,000).

"As the number of people usingStories has grown, so has thenumber of businesses using theformat to connect with their audiences on social media," Buffersays. Some 61% of businesses inBuffer's survey say they plan toinvest in Stories ads from Facebook-owned entities this year.

Citing US brand managementcompany Chatmeter as well asHootsuite, Trendstop's Jatyriexplains 54% of consumers saythey want to see more videocontent from brands and "one inthree social video viewers watchvideos from brands regularly".

When it comes to consumerbehaviour, Foresight Factory'sDennehy predicts by 2022, 66% of Chinese, 60% of US and42% of UK consumers will beposting live videos.

In fact, Facebook has recentlylaunched a new social viewingexperience called Watch Party,a feature that lets people connect via Facebook Groups towatch live or pre-recorded videos and chat together in realtime.

The rise of video is also influencing the growth of newer socialmedia platforms. UK PR agencyAmbitious named TikTok as thenext big social network at its 'Social Media Week' event thisyear.

TikTok is a platform for short-form mobile video and, according to Ambitious, its core demographic is mostly teens andtweens. TikTok is available in150 markets, in 75 languages.The company behind TikTok,Beijing-based Byte Dance, reported via CNN it now has 1bn users across its apps.CNN said TikTok's internationalappeal "sets it apart from otherChinese social media platformssuch as Tencent's WeChat, SinaWeibo and Alibaba's Youku".

The need to capture the bestimages possible is also influencing product developmentamong social-media companies. Later this year, Snapchat will launch Spectacles 3, the latestversion of Spectacles sunglasses with dual cameras designedto "capture the world in 3D".The glasses (recommended retail price of US$413)feature two HD cameras on either side of the frame to capture depth and dimension theway your eyes do, and "powernew augmented reality creativetools" to enhance pictures.

Earlier this year, Instagram introduced@shop. The @shopplatform is a "celebration ofsmall businesses and the creators behind them", according tothe launch statement. The contentis inspired by Instagram's community - "a real-time reflectionof our community's interestsacross top shopping categorieslike fashion, beauty, home decorand more".

From a food and drinks perspective, the service offers SquareRoot sodas by the case and anarray of cocktail equipment aswell as a whole host of differentfoods, including sausages fromThe Ginger Pig butcher. SquareRoot, for example, tells users acase of sodas costs GBP25, with alink to the company's website tocomplete the purchase.

Osler says Instagram's shopping function allows companies to "tag products directly intheir feed and in Stories, helpingthem to place their productsdirectly into the hands of theircustomers".

"This will mean brands will beable to combine high-impact,visual ads in News Feed or onStories with a function thatdrives purchases in real time,"she adds.

There is no doubt social media has becomemore private in recentyears, as users gravitate towards smaller communities andmessaging apps.

"Another trend we're seeing isthe rapid growth of messaging,"says Facebook's Osler. "Peoplenow send around 100bn messages each day using our services." She says this isn't just text,but also photos and videos using apps such as WhatApp andMessenger. "They want to sharetheir experience in real-time andin ways that aren't permanent,"Osler adds.

But, Buffer's survey suggeststhe messaging arena has notyet been exploited by brands."Seventy-one per cent do notuse messaging apps for theirmarketing," the report says. Infact, Foresight Factory's Dennehy says "these spaces aremuch harder for brands to crackinto".

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Over the influence? The future of social media - just-drinks FUTURES Vol.7 - FREE TO ACCESS - just-drinks.com

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am