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Havas: publishers can benefit from upsurge in social spend

This is a report from AOP's ‘Building Smart Communities’ Forum, chaired by Sift CEO & Founder Ben Heald on 17 May.

Read the Media Briefing's interview with PistonHeads Publishing Director Stuart Forrest at this event.

Read our interview with Mumsnet Founder & CEO Justine Roberts, on 'constant beta' & engaging brands with the community who also spoke at the Forum, along with Giles Palmer, CEO of BrandWatch.

Havas: publishers can benefit from upsurge in social spend

Facebook is not an objective
Publishers can play a key role in agencies’ burgeoning social media efforts, according to Havas Media’s Social Media Director Amy Kean, speaking at AOP's ‘Building Smart Communities’ forum on 17 May.

Social media advertising spending grew by 200% in 2010, according to IAB, and the agency’s own research indicates that 77% of top brands now see it as a long-term commitment. At the time of writing, Publicis, like Havas, has also announced its own dedicated social division.

While reach is still paramount, increasingly agencies are also having to guarantee word of mouth and interaction metrics.
“Social strategies are starting to sink in – and brands see it as a long-term commitment and part of the regular media plan”Amy Kean
Facebook may offer unique formats such as sponsored stories, said Kean, but brands' Facebook activities are fast becoming formulaic and agencies will increasingly be looking elsewhere for innovation.

Add to this the blurred lines between customer service and promotion, as social networks are fuelled by an ‘angry mob’ of people complaining, and you begin to see why linking up with publishers’ communities is an increasingly attractive prospect.

'Social Social'

There is nothing really inherently very social about adding a 'like’ button to your site, or setting up a Facebook page. Truly social campaigns are cross-platform partnerships which speak with a community, not at them, in a way that complements their behaviours and frame of mind.

Grazia Westfield PartnershipA complete issue of Grazia was produced from within Westfield in its opening weekFor examples of this ‘social social’ in action, Kean cited Grazia’s partnership with Westfield, which saw the magazine team's office transported to a perspex pod within the shopping centre (result: 61% of Grazia readers who saw the Westfield campaign spoke to friends or family about it), or the music/film site DIY's partnership with Britflick Attack the Block, which saw the aliens from the film taking over DIY’s Twitter feed (all transparently flagged as ads.)

Why do media partnerships not include social?

Though many would understandably balk at giving advertisers direct access to their Twitter followers, Kean stressed that each publisher has a ‘right brand for their community’ to integrate in an intelligent social way – these are just the first examples of ‘social social’ in action.

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