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Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing is Crucial for a Winning Brand Strategy

Other peoples’ experiences and thoughts about products are an important source of information for many consumers. They can both be more relatable, since they’re written from a user perspective, and more trustworthy, since they represent independent voices.

But reading reviews written for strangers is just one of the many social sources consumers refer to along their path to purchase.

Public-facing reviews are matched by word-of-mouth recommendations that are often invisible to brands, since they take place in person, or through ‘dark social’ channels.

Unlike public product reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations come from sources familiar to us already, i.e. friends and family. What they lack in ‘authority’, compared to a professional reviewers, they make up for in trustworthiness.

Word of mouth has the rare trait of being able to increase brand loyalty; a study from the Wharton School of Business found that referred customers are between 16% to 24% more loyal on average.

Our data reveals that WOM is the fourth most-cited source for brand discovery among global internet users, behind search engines and ads seen on online or on TV. While taking pride in sharing their expertise seems to be important for many people who leave reviews, word of mouth tends to be more related to sharing tailored knowledge and experience to those who will really make use of it.

Despite the increasing influence of mobile and social media, face-to-face communication still seems to hold incredible value for brand discovery and advocacy. But what place does word of mouth (WOM) have in today’s purchase journey, where offline sources compete and overlap with online, and who are the people that respond to it the most?

The importance of word of mouth.

WOM recommendations are a crucial marketing tool for any brand.

This is mainly because since they come from sources familiar to us already, i.e. friends and family, and due to the ‘buzz’ user-generated content can induce, they’re more trustworthy and valuable.

Our data reveals that WOM is the third most-cited source for brand discovery among global internet users, behind search engines and ads seen on TV.

Tellingly, WOM recommendations (31%) are more important at this stage than both recommendations/comments on social media (25%) and consumer review sites (22%).

Where does word of mouth hold most sway?

WOM continues to play an important role across all our tracked markets, but privacy concerns and diminishing brand trust has made it especially relevant in some specific regions.

Currently, WOM is particularly important in North America (41%, Index 1.32) and Latin America, where around 4 in 10 cite it as a key source of product discovery (38%, Index 1.21). This could reflect particular personal privacy worries in these regions, leading consumers to look for more traditional and trustworthy forms of brand advocacy. These are also markets where product reviews play a key role in brand discovery.

The importance of reviews and recommendations – peer-to-peer sources – extends beyond the consumer sector, reflecting the social/cultural aspect.

WOM is also a marketing tactic that is viewed favorably by business leaders in America. U.S. business decision-makers cite ‘conversations with people from the company on a social network’ as the second most influential source for B2B purchases, and 62% of marketing executives say WOM is the most effective form of marketing.

The Middle East and Africa is the lowest-indexing region, with only 23% (Index 0.73) of digital consumers using WOM to discover new products and services, just as they’re less likely to use formal review sites.

This finding holds true across all generations, but is particularly pronounced for Gen Z, who are half as likely as the average consumer to use WOM.

Ads sen online and ads seen on TV rank as the top sources for brand discovery in this region, with WOM trailing in eighth position behind comments on social media and brand/product websites.

There is no one clear-cut reason for this lack of trust in peer-to-peer recommendations,.
It although it could be that in the Middle East, many companies still view social media as a means to ‘sell’ their brands and extend their global content into the region, rather than invest in authentic regional content. The relatively more limited availability of Arab and other local language resources could also play a role.

This could explain why brands and agencies in this region are resisting to adopt WOM as a marketing tool.

Profiling the WOM consumer.

There are some key patterns that people who value word of mouth share no matter where in the world they live.

WOM consumers are most likely to come from North America, what other characteristics define these individuals?

Compared to the average consumer, they’re:

  • 15% more likely to be female
  • 28% more likely to be divorced or widowed
  • 10% more likely to be in the top 10% of earners.

Older generations are typically more inclined to use WOM for brand discovery, with over a third of 45-54 (34%, Index 1.09) and 55-64 year olds (38%, Index 1.21) citing this as a main source for finding out about new brands and products.

For both baby boomers and Gen Xers, WOM recommendations places third as a brand discovery source behind ads seen on TV and search engines. It drops down to fourth for millennials, and sixth for Gen Z, but this still places it just ahead of recommendations on social media for both these younger generations.

Brand trust is at the root of word of mouth.

In 2018, we’ve seen a major shift in the way we think about privacy and brand trust.

The combination of high-profile corporate privacy scandals and wide-sweeping data legislation has brought about a sense of fatigue and disillusionment with contemporary online marketing techniques.

When the GDPR came into effect in May, many consumers predicted it would have a positive impact; the ability to hold companies to account for data misuse and to have greater control over what personal data they obtained was viewed very positively by those we surveyed.

Since then, however, internet users have become frustrated with the constant barrage of privacy notices, consent boxes and general GDPR-related information. Despite much of the high-profile privacy-related events of the past year stemming from Europe and North America, brand distrust is rampant across all of our tracked markets.

At least 6 in 10 people in all regions say they’re worried about how their personal data is being used by companies.

And this number jumps to 8 in 10 people in the Latin American market.

With this distrust comes both a general wariness of brands who only engage with their audiences through targeted ads on social media, as well as a hyperawareness of any disingenuous influencer marketing. It’s therefore hardly surprising that consumers consistently look towards recommendations from close one.

Increasing the spread of WOM marketing.

If brands can recapture what’s been acknowledged as the most valued form of marketing – built on consumers’ experience and trust – they’ll be able to increase their reach and boost positive reception, whether they take place on public review sites or in WeChat groups.

But while WOM recommendations can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but they crucially they have to be fostered by marketing strategies that go beyond ‘likes’.

These strategies even go beyond purposeful campaigns; although purpose-led strategies have been singled out as the key to brand growth, marketers have too-often fallen into the trap of seeking larger meaning only to look ‘faux-inspirational’ or insincere to consumers.

Creating credible recommenders is key to cracking WOM marketing.

In his 2016 TED talk, Chris Cowan shows that credible recommendations are much more likely to be considered and passed on compared to recommendations motivated by rewards.

Brands now, more than ever, need to focus on building genuine and authentic relationships with consumers through amazing customer service, transparent value exchanges, transparent data collection and creative marketing campaigns, so avid consumers will be encouraged to share their experiences.

Ephemeral Content Consumers: 5 Things Every Brand Should Know

Ephemeral content characterizes the social media landscape.

Derived from the Greek word ephḗmeros, it means “lasting one day” and refers to the fast-moving, short-lived nature of content and media we see today.

As a concept, it ties in with shorter attention spans, faster news cycles, and how social algorithms push viral content to the surface and then bury it in the depths of our feeds. Some internet users are frustrated by it, but we also a see large subset of consumers who are closely attuned to this type of content, eagerly seeking out the new and fresh.

Although there are platforms, like Twitter, that were built around the idea of short bursts of user and brand content, it was Snapchat that first managed to make a feature out of ephemerality.

Built to capture momentary conversations in real life, Snapchat fast became the go-to platform for teenagers everywhere. Fast forward a few years, and a plethora of platforms have copied this format of fleeting content, including Instagram, Facebook and – gone but never forgotten – Vine.

Ephemeral content has become central to many brands’ marketing strategies.

It can paint an authentic, behind-the-scenes, more ‘human’ picture of a brand and their vision, while also creating a FOMO effect that drives up engagement through the illusion of exclusivity.

So who are this audience and what makes them tick?

1. They’re aspirational, connected technophiles.

Ephemeral content consumers are made up of both males and females, with a 52% to 48% split respectively.

While neither gender dominates this group, this audience is predominantly younger internet users: over two thirds fall in the 16-34 age range.

But despite their youth, “ephemeral content consumers” isn’t just shorthand for a generation.

Compared to the average Gen Zer, this audience is more than twice as likely to be considered cosmopolitan and technophilic. 8 in 10 are aspirational individuals (Index 2.29), and they’re a very forward-thinking, motivated and career-focused group.

They’re also a group that care about their status.

7 in 10 say they like to stand out in a crowd, and over three quarters say that having the latest tech is important to them.

This matches the boldness and innovation of the content they love.

The hyper-awareness of their status and future may be due to their above-average income, with this group being 40% more likely to be in the top 10% income bracket.

This higher income also gives them the luxury of trying out new products and services, too: 6 in 10 say they would buy something simply for the experience of being part of the community around it.

They’re also much more likely to be positive when asked about the global economy (Index 1.46) or the future of the environment (Index 1.37).

2. Their consumption is spread across devices and platforms.

Ephemeral content consumption has become a near-defining characteristic of Gen Z and younger millennials’ media consumption behavior, which many commentators attribute to their digital native orientation and the familiarity with variety and freedom of choice it’s led to.

Reports often cite claims that teenage attention spans have decreased from around 11 to 8 seconds since the year 2000. Our research does show a dramatic increase in time spent on devices since measurements began, along with a global expansion in the number of devices used.

Ephemeral content consumers average 4.4 devices per user, compared to the global average of 3.7, and spend an average of 36 minutes more online than the general population.

This is a group that clearly enjoy being constantly connected, and have become adept at switching between screens, devices and platforms.

3. Social media is the base of most online activities.

Their social media usage takes place across multiple platforms, and their reasons for using them are just as diverse.

This group’s primary reason to be on social media is to stay up-to-date with news and current affairs (91%, Index 2.27), but this is followed closely by finding funny or entertaining content (89%, Index 2.45).

This group are also three times more likely than the average internet user to follow celebrities/celebrity news, and twice as likely to research products to buy.

Only 1 in 2 cite ‘to make sure I don’t miss out on anything’ as a factor for their social media usage.

Although this is nearly 2.5 times the rate of the average social media user, it does indicate that whilst they like to be connected and informed about world events, this group’s social media use is not based solely on FOMO or a sense of belonging.

4. They aren’t committed to any single topic.

Ephemeral content consumers are naturally not constrained by one particular topic of interest. In fact, they over-index by at least 45% on any topic of interest that we currently track.

Their highest-indexing interests, however, reflect their transient personality: dance entertainment (29%, Index 2.48), urban and modern art (31%, Index 2.48), celebrity news and gossip (35%, Index 2.40), entrepreneurship (35%, Index 2.22), and fashion and style (60%, Index 2.22).

All five of these interests can be seen as dynamic topics that regularly shift and update to reflect modern culture.

Eco-conscious consumer topics, such as volunteering and environmental issues, also rank highly with this group, which makes sense given how tuned in this group are to the issues of today.

This group are as ephemeral in their personal interests as they are in their content consumption. Their always-on-the-go lifestyle and trailblazer attitudes go hand-in-hand with their fickle interactions with content.

5. They’re all about online reputation.

Ephemeral content consumers are always on the lookout for the next big thing.

Just as they want fresh and exciting content, they similarly desire the newest products and services to try. So it comes as no surprise that this group think the most important role a brand has in a consumer’s life is to provide innovative and new products, which 1 in 3 cite as their favorite thing for brands to do.

But the most distinctive factor is when brands make them feel cool and trendy (Index 1.31).

As mentioned previously, this group score highly on status-seeking, and maintaining their appearance and online reputation is important to them. These values are reflected in the factors that motivate this group to promote their favorite brand online.

They’re approximately twice as likely as the average person to advocate a brand if it enhances their online reputation (Index 2.04), if they have insider knowledge about the brand (Index 1.94), if they have access to exclusive content or services (Index 1.88), or if they have a personal relationship with a brand (Index 1.85). This demonstrates how responsive this group are to brands that make them feel like a valued and special consumer.

Ephemeral content comes and goes, but as a marketing tactic it’s here to stay.

That’s why it’s crucial for brands to understand who the ephemeral content consumers are, and what they expect from this fast-paced content ecosystem.

By creating and promoting content that satisfies the group’s need for dynamism and indulges their desire to look trendy, marketers can create hot-off-the-press brand advocates.

Respondents are categorized as ephemeral content consumers if they use social media for any two out of the following three reasons:

  • ‘to find funny or entertaining content’
  • ‘to follow celebrities and celebrity news’,
  • ‘to stay up to date with news and current events’,

and if they strongly agree with any two out of the following three attitudinal statements:

  • ‘I like to keep up with the latest fashions’
  • ‘I tend to make decisions quickly, based on a gut feeling’
  • ‘it is important to stay in touch with what is going on in the world’.

This definition rendered a sample of 4,527 respondents, making up 6.1% of the global population.

Insight for SMEs: 5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make and How to Overcome Them

Today’s SMEs face a number of challenges that pose obstacles to growth.

A recent study of 400 SME leaders revealed that some of their key challenges are:

  • Keeping up with technological change and disruption.
  • Inciting and delivering constant innovation to deliver results.
  • Understanding different consumer groups, including their main motivations and brand relationships.
  • Managing rising costs as the business grows.

Research by Imperial College London and marketing agency Earnest found SMEs generally turn to online research for answers, but remain skeptical about the advice they receive and want to combine it with other modes of research.

There’s an air of confusion around who to trust, and what small businesses should do to improve their business strategy to get the best ROI possible.

Here are some common mistakes SMEs can make when reliable research isn’t used to guide decision-making.

Five mistakes small businesses make

1. Applying big business approaches.

Shallow internet research may uncover what appears to be strong advice on how to position and market your business, but this advice isn’t tailored to your company size, strategy, mission, values or services.

2. Bracketing themselves in by looking only at the obvious customer.

Without deep insight, it’s easy to only see the logical customers of your brand and products. But when you dig deeper, you may find suitable and switched-on consumer groups that you otherwise wouldn’t have allocated resource to targeting, leading to a better ROI.

3. Making assumptions on their audience.

You may think you know your audience, but unless you’ve used deep survey data offered up directly from the consumers themselves, you’re simply making assumptions. A solid marketing strategy is built on a foundation of absolute truth, and when you get your information from those you’re looking to target, you know you’re on the right path.

4. Not investing in content marketing.

Content marketing is a key focus for any business looking to create a strong brand-consumer relationship. But why spend resource on something that may not yield immediate fiscal results?

Because when you offer relevant and actionable content to your target audience, you’re moving far beyond simply making a sale. You’re answering their questions before they ask them, helping them solve their problems, creating brand trust, and encouraging loyalty and advocacy.

And according to Demand Metric, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing, and costs 62% less.

5. Not using facts to guide decisions.

Again, guesswork and assumptions just don’t cut it for any company with a limited amount of time and money to spend.

Even if you know your consumers well, today’s audiences are constantly changing and evolving both in terms of their behaviors and their opinions.

It’s absolutely crucial to stay on top of these changes and keep a constant pulse on your buyer personas.

Luckily, these mistakes can all be overcome.

How SMEs can overcome these challenges

Validate your audience.

Using global data from a trusted source, you can confirm that your target audience is appropriate and uncover new segments of consumers that would also convert if they’re targeted well. This way, you’re focusing your spend on strategies that will pay off.

Conduct robust research to understand their needs.

But it’s not enough to know who your consumers are – you need to understand what you can offer them.

By creating data-driven buyer personas, you can map segments in minute detail, outlining the interests, attitudes and perceptions that are crucial to target.

Using data from the consumers themselves enables you to identify where, when and how your brand can swoop in and fulfill their needs.

Know your value proposition per target consumer.

Once you’ve identified who your target consumers really are and created granular buyer personas, you need to customize your strategy to each of them.

A value proposition demonstrates to the consumer what your business can offer them and how, highlighting in detail the ways in which they will benefit from your services..

But it’s not enough to have one, overarching value proposition to represent your brand – you must go deeper to hone in on the unique aspects of each consumer group you’re looking to reach.

Invest in the right channels and tactics.

With all these data-driven tools at hand, you can reduce wasted spend and become hyper-targeted.

By focusing your marketing only on the channels and tactics that you already know your target consumers will respond to, you’re finally moving far beyond guesswork and putting your brand in front of the right eyes, in the right place, at the right time.

Where to start

By investing in a top-quality data source, you can avoid making unfounded business decisions and face challenges head on, with confidence.

Challenges like new tech, constant innovation, evolving consumer groups and rising costs can all be managed when you have true, reliable insight into what your consumers expect from you.

And when you have access to a source of deep consumer insight, you have everything you need to move past the guesswork and be in complete control of your business strategy.

Steps to generate and implement solid market research

1. Identify the problem. What issue do you want market research to solve?

2. Set your objectives. Define your key objective or objectives. This might be expressed as a question, a statement or a hypothesis.

3. Start your research planning. Detail how the information will be collected and analyzed, and get a clear plan of action.

4. Determine your sample size. Select a small, hyper-targeted group of people who are representative of a wider group or population to get the deepest insight possible.

5. Start collecting your data. Using a mixture of active and passive data collection combines analytical and scientific data to give breadth and depth to your findings.

6. Analyze the data. Data analysis involves bringing together the qualitative or quantitative data – or mixture of both – for scrutiny.

7. Start applying your insights. Interpreting the information and understanding how this can be translated into business actions is the final stage of marketing research. You can then apply them to your strategy, and create data-driven campaigns.

Introducing contemporary, granular market research to your business can seem daunting – especially if you haven’t made use of a data source in the past.

But as many SMEs are aware, in today’s landscape, having the data to guide your decisions is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity.

With reliable and robust consumer insight at hand, you can avoid making small mistakes, and focus on the work that will net you success and growth.

How to Decrypt the Cryptocurrency Consumer

On October 31st, 2008, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto published the paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, which would lay the groundwork for the world’s most talked about and prominent novel currency project since the creation of the euro some twenty years ago.

Growing from a little-known cryptography mailing list, a discreetly registered domain, and a dedicated forum set up by its founder, Bitcoin soon inspired a huge growth. This was evident in traders, platform and brokers, trade media, fans churning out memes, as well as commercial endeavors from cash brokers to exchanges, pubs to candy stores.

This rapid expansion also meant that the user and consumer base has been difficult to track and segment.

By including cryptocurrency in our global survey of digital consumers, we’ve been able to catch almost 90,000 relevant respondents without specifically targeting them. This, combined with our targeted poll, gives a unique overview of this audience.

Profiling the crypto consumer.

5.4% of the global internet population own cryptocurrency.

Of them, roughly a quarter said they have no other investments outside their pensions or cash savings, while the remainder combine cryptocurrency with stocks and bonds, precious metals, and other assets.

Based on our targeted U.S. and UK cryptocurrency poll, 54% of our U.S. sample owned less than $500 at the time of fieldwork, and 60% of the UK sample owned less than £500. This suggests the majority are casual consumers.

Just 1 in 5 cryptocurrency owners held it as their primary investment and there are limited differences in opinion between people who own more or less crypto. This implies that cryptocurrency audiences are more defined by their willingness than their ability to invest.

Surveys and censuses going back at least five years point to a user base with a massive overrepresentation of men, and especially younger men, with a set of specific attitudinal characteristics: risk tolerance, libertarian politics, and business interests.

The changing face of crypto.

The first community surveys that were published, such as the self-selected community census, often showed gender ratios of upwards of 93-7 male-to-female.

This has also been identified as a key challenge for crypto. Being able to grow outside this limited audience is key to achieving what many holders see as the future of crypto: becoming a mainstream means of payment, which 75-85% of crypto holders in the U.S. and UK think will happen.

Five years on, we’re seeing a mixed picture. The gender split is more 70-30 than 80-20, with massive differences between countries.

Looking at markets where we have more than 100 cryptocurrency-holding respondents, the overrepresentation of men varies from 54% in China to 88% in Germany.

Europe and North America looks much the same, and are where we’ve got the largest concentrations of crypto users. Outside Western markets, the ratio drops to 60-70% male.

The largest crypto user base in absolute terms, Mainland China, is just 54% male.

There could very well be more Chinese women who own cryptocurrency than there are male holders in the United States, even if traders and brokers are mainly male. But this is also true for mainstream investors.

Though holders have an upward socioeconomic skew, the clear majority of people, even in higher social strata, don’t hold crypto.

And while cryptocurrency holders are overwhelmingly male, female cryptocurrency holders hold the same financially optimistic and personally confident views as their male counterparts.

Crypto adoption isn’t reducible to a demographic.

What sets cryptocurrency holders apart is attitudes, not assets.

The cryptocurrency community has always had an undercurrent of pessimism toward the world of finance and government. After all, the first batch of cryptocurrency transactions ever made were stamped – in perpetuity – with a reference to the global financial crisis: “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Ten years on, this no longer reflects the majority view of cryptocurrency holders, if it ever did.

Cryptocurrency holders are more positive about the world economy than the average internet user, and the average investor. A currency that seems to offer a safe haven out of the hands of unpopular and distrusted institutions had a strong appeal for people with pessimistic, or even contrarian, views of the economy.

Across the board, that gloom seems to have dissipated.

58% of cryptocurrency holders now say they feel optimistic about the world economy, compared to 43% of non-holders or investors and 52% of those who have some investments beyond their pension or cash savings, but no crypto.

The outspoken economic optimism, both personal and global, among cryptocurrency holders is a powerful differentiator, and helps explain why some people are attracted to high-risk investments.

Risk tolerance and aspiration push investors toward crypto.

Even if they don’t hold cryptocurrency, economic optimists’ confidence in the global economy matches their optimism about their own finances – and their ability to manage them.

Economic optimism is associated with being more willing to borrow money and gamble, being proactive about investment, and feeling more affluent than others. These traits are 40-50% more prevalent among economic optimists than the average internet user, and 15-20% more prevalent among cryptocurrency holders than economic optimists who don’t own any cryptocurrency.

Greater individualism, ambition and aspiration set cryptocurrency holders apart from investors who share their economic outlook.

68% of optimistic crypto holders say they like to stand out from a crowd, 72% describe themselves as risk takers, and a full 87% say they always strive to achieve more in life. They see themselves as adventurous, make decisions based on their gut, and are willing to buy a product “simply for the experience of being part of the community built around it.”

Crypto holders as digital entertainment consumers.

Cryptocurrency holders are extremely engaged online, over-indexing for every online activity from online dating to social media, and their habits reflect their unique mindset.

As risk tolerant, ambitious consumers with a strong sense of personal agency, they’re much more likely to have visited online gambling sites – 42% did in the past month, compared to 24% of all internet users.

They’re also a relatively young audience, so it should be no surprise that YouTube is their most popular social network/content space: 93% of cryptocurrency users (not including China). While video tutorials are their most distinctive interest, tech-oriented, male-heavy sites like Twitch and Reddit are also popular.

Privacy concerns among cryptocurrency holders.

While cryptocurrency holders are more privacy-conscious than the average online user, this is in no way unique to this audience.

59% say they prefer to remain anonymous online, but so do 53% of global internet users.

However, there’s a relatively pronounced group of crypto holders – especially the quarter who strongly prefer to be anonymous – who take active measures to safeguard their privacy.

Compared to the general online population, twice as many crypto holders use a VPN at least once a month, though they remain a minority at 42%.

They’re also much more likely to state that the purpose is to hide their web browsing activities from their government, at 2.4 times the rate. But it’s important not to dramatize: the most common reason crypto holders use VPNs is to access entertainment content.

Holding out for the future.

Here, we have a group of investors who are eager to take on risks and move up in life. They’re investing in an outwardly speculative endeavor, while emphasizing the safety and predictability of their most characteristic investment.

Long-term investment is by far the most widespread motivation to hold cryptocurrencies among our U.S. and UK respondents. There’s no one reason to do so, though, and there are more hobbyists and ideological investors than actual day-to-day users.

As usage is low, but 68% expect the value of cryptocurrencies to increase next year, we can confirm that crypto owners are holding out for the future.

While this is more common with those who own larger amounts or have larger shares of their wealth tied up in crypto, even 40%of respondents in the UK and U.S. who don’t own any crypto expect it to grow in value.

Cryptocurrency has sat on the edge of a mainstream breakthrough for some time, which can be attributed to questions around the safety of the currency and uncertainty around the market itself. However, this is what appeals to the risk-willing and business-minded audience.

Any marketer looking to target this audience would do well to tap into its well-documented sense of daring and optimism, rather than rely on more traditional messages around security.

Campaign of the Month: ‘What Girls Should Reach For’ – Young Women’s Trust

It won’t be news to anyone that there’s a gender pay gap. But what might be surprising is that research finds the estimated time it’ll take for a gender balance to take place is actually increasing, not decreasing.

Looking to shine a light on this issue and empower young girls to strive for careers they otherwise might not, Young Women’s Trust is calling out specific fields in which women aren’t commonly represented.

Here’s why we chose ‘What Girls Should Reach For’ as our October campaign of the month.

The Insight

It will take 217 years for disparities in the pay and employment opportunities of men and women to end, according to the World Economic Forum. This is a 47-year increase from the same study the year before.

With this insight at hand, the teams set out not only to drive more awareness around the increasing gap – but to offer a playful solution.

The Message

Looking to highlight career areas where women are still hugely under-represented and equality is still rife, Young Women’s Trust, alongside BBC Creative and Grey London, created a baby mobile featuring symbols like a rocket, a football, and a sign saying ‘CEO.’

The project also includes downloadable patterns describing inequalities in areas like equal pay. And the message that reigns is a clear one:

Raise girls with ambitions, not limitations.

Joe Levenson, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Young Women’s Trust, says, “Despite record numbers of women in the workplace, young women are too often told what they can’t be rather than encouraged to be anything they want to.”

To combat this, the overarching campaign message is aimed at parents, who are implored to support their daughters from day one and encourage them to aim high.

Why it Worked

Taking a fresh and playful approach, the campaign put the spotlight on future generations of girls, and how parents can work to empower them from birth.

Sarah Fox from BBC Creative says, “We knew we wanted to do something on this topic when we found out there are more people called Dave than there are women in the FTSE 100.”

It’s a step in the right direction, using inventive creative driven by data to encourage parents to support their daughters from an early age and end gender inequality sooner.

Black Friday 2018: Why Social Media is Key for Driving Sales

Social media is now a key channel for product research around the world. But is it being used for more than just research?

With Black Friday and Cyber Week just around the corner, our latest survey on 111,899 internet users reveals how essential it is for brands to place a key focus on social to reach UK and U.S. consumers. Here’s why.

Social commerce is rising.

Since 2015, social media has continuously been playing a more central role in the consumer journey.

42% of consumers now conduct research about brands, products and services through social networks.

This places them just 10-percentage points behind search engines.

This growth is being driven by developments in product search functionalities across social platforms like Instagram, which recently introduced product tags to support its native product discovery.

Black Friday campaigns drive more social shopping.

Another study we conducted on 3,500 consumers in the UK and U.S. revealed 49% of UK and 53% of U.S. consumers are now converting through social networks.

Facebook takes the lead here with 39% of UK consumers having made a purchase through the platform.

The same research shows when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, social shopping rises by as much as 66% in the UK.

In fact, only a quarter of respondents say they wouldn’t make a purchase through social media after seeing a sales offer during the discount weekend.

Trust in social networks is growing.

One of the most popular platforms for purchasing after seeing a Black Friday or Cyber Monday advert is Instagram.

A quarter of UK respondents say a key driver for making a purchase on social media is having a better preview of the product.

This rises to 31% in the US.

Social platforms also allow for a better user experience, giving consumers the chance to see the latest trends and influencer posts (20%) and what their friends have engaged with or purchased (20%).

These reasons rated higher than any discrepancy in price between social media and other platforms.

Crucially, social networks have reached a point of maturity among consumers.

27% of UK and U.S. consumers say they could trust the platform to handle the payment process in much the same way as a brand or retailer, proving to be a vital factor in their decision-making.

Winter season is a marathon, not a sprint.

Marketers tend to dedicate a large part of their budget to the lead up to Black Friday, and for good reason:

A quarter of UK shoppers expect to have spent over £250 by the close of Cyber Monday.

Despite this, just 17% of consumers feel they will be able to do ‘most’ of their Christmas shopping during the Black Friday weekend.

This tells us while Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be priority for brands everywhere, the winter period should be seen as a marathon, not a sprint.

Social media needs to be taken seriously as social commerce continues to grow, but brands should think carefully about how to allocate spend throughout the entire winter sales period.