Here we are for day 2 of ESOMAR’s 3D Digital Dimensions conference here in Amsterdam, the seats are filling up, we’re all vibing out to the sound of a hang drum once more, ready for a day of mobile and social.

After a short introduction from the session chair Gerd Callewaert of Ipsos, Belgium we start with the first thread of the day. Part II of Second Dimension: Social Media Research and Online Communities which kicks off with Holland 2.0 with Jos Vink of Blauw Research and Anke ten Velde of the Netherlands Board of Tourism. A visibly nervous Anke started by talking about the requirements of a recent study carried out to help promote the Dutch tourist board through social media in a competitive market. Jos went on to say that the original brief for Blauw was to use social media to identify super promoters for the tourist board, focusing on enthusiastic sentiment from people who frequently share their opinion. But there was a problem. They could only find one super promoter on social media, it meant they couldn’t fulfil their brief and taught them although there is a lot of information on social media, you can’t always get what you want.

This meant a change of plans for Jos and the team, the expanded their searches, using more terms on Twitter, Facebook, forums and blogs. It was no surprise, as it’s mentioned in over 50% of the presentations so far, that this provides a huge amount of data, but a more expansive picture of the conversations going on and more context to those comments. Using this information they discovered that the real promoting of the Netherlands comes at the beginning, when people are first planning their trip and when they first arrive in Holland. Blauw came up with the concept of a new super promoter strategy; Little acts of kindness. By using a conversation manager, the Netherlands Tourist Board could search social media, and involve themselves with visitors before they even arrived. Insinuating themselves in online conversations thus spreading awareness and strengthening links between the visitor and the destination and hoping for the knock on effects when friends or family in turn prepare their trips.

Up next was Facebook Under the Spotlight with Robert Ellis of COG Research UK. Robert was here to talk about some work recently carried out in evaluating the promotional use of a Facebook campaign over TV advertising based on implicit response. He started with a brief overview of a new test from COG Research called the IRT (implicit response test), respondents were show a brand followed by a brand value and prompted to answer with a agree to disagree. This test not only measured the response but also reaction time in an effort to measure intuitive opinions on the brand. The method can then be used for brand diagnostics, with the ability to show emotional weaknesses for brands.

Robert went on to describe a case study with Toyota as they measure the attitudes towards the Yaris as a result of both TV and social media campaigns covering Facebook and youtube. Using IRT, COG Research were able to gauge which brand values recorded a better response in which advertising media. IRT allowed them to see that SM campaigns had a very positive effect, with TV strengthening the position in some areas. And Facebook certainly helps increase the positive responses to the brand value of “youthful”. All in all, on the surface a simple methodology but by measuring implicit and explicit it provided Robert with a much fuller picture and demonstrated a strong role for social media going forward for the brand.

After a short networking break, we move into the mobile segment of this year’s conference and a guest speaker for the event Feryal Hemamda of InMobi in France and her presentation The World Goes Mobile, looking at the mobile media consumption. Feryal was here to give us an overview of the industry and current mobile consumption. We were reminded how new the industry is, online marketing has only really been going for 10 years. Mobile is changing the way we shop and interact with people and the environment, not only are we consuming we’re also producing content, everywhere and anytime. Mobile is an incredibly personal device, how do we approach marketing on such a personal device?

Feryal went on to provide some of the results of a recent global study by InMobi to understand current mobile media consumption and provide a holistic overview of how mobile is evolving. According to Feryal global mobile web users consume 7 hours of media a day (minus emails and phone calls) and on average more spent time on mobile than any other single media platform. She went with some general figures of usage location (67% of users, use in bed), app usage (6.4 apps used on average across 30 days) and multi-screening (62% of mobile web users engage in mobile activities while watching TV). Feryal finished her presentation with an overview of current practices and uses of mobile marketing. Tailored content campaigns based on user needs, with a fully integrated social side; audience-centric content based advertising enhancing brand experiences and in-ad gaming driving user experience. A comprehensive overview of mobile from Feryal, setting us up for the rest of the day.

The last session before lunch was the conferences panel discussion. Spyware, Tracking and Mobile Research a discussion chaired by Reg Baker of Market Strategies International and consultant to ESOMAR’s Professional Standards Committee. He was joined on stage by Andreas Piani of Arbitron Mobile in France, Guy Rolfe of Kantar Operations, Siamack Salari of EverydayLives and Mark Michelson of the MMRA. They were here to talk about privacy issues in reference to the new ESOMAR Mobile Research Guidelines released today.

Reg started with a video. A fortune teller on a Belgium street, coming up with some incredible insights into the person he was talking to, only for it to be revealed he got all is information of that person on the internet. He went on to highlight some of the key principles of the ESOMAR code that should apply to all research, mobile and otherwise; the need for transparency, consent and notification and the protection of personal data. The panel then had a few minutes each for small presentations on the guidelines and their view on the privacy debate. Andreas highlighted some of the key points of the ESOMAR & MMRA Guidelines:

  • Unity of purpose – no mixing of MR and marketing
  • Opt-in & clear PP necessary for user consent
  • Secure data transfer and storage
  • Anonymity & aggregation vital, except for special aims

Guy was up next stressing the need for transparency, Siamack also called for transparency with consumers, stressing that informed consent forms and box checking for the legal department of the client. The consumer needs more information on how data is stored and the security of it, we have the technology to manage that effectively. Mark finished with an overview of the next step for the guidelines, creating a bill of rights for participants and reaching beyond the industry to technology companies, marketing, the media and government.

I’ve experienced theses privacy panels on a number of occasions, at both ESOMAR events and other association events. Usually it’s the same points asked at each one. We’re an industry that needs to address this problem, that’s clear and I think everyone understands that. And we are moving slowly in the right direction, though with the fast moving pace of technology, we’re sometimes playing catch-up. However, we’re still pretty far in front of a lot of organisations and governments. Which led to a few points from the audience, Ray Poynter asked whether we should be regulating at all, should the legislators be dealing with this? Adam Philips replied that the work ESOMAR was doing was in an effort to guide the conversations legislators will be having about our industry.

One of the ket talking points of the panel discussion was regarding the tech companies collecting and monetising data but with no industry affiliation. Some of the panel believed that it was in those tech companies best interest to connect with the industry. But it was clear that there were some that worry how far companies like Facebook will push data privacy before they’re reigned in and what effect that will have on the broader business landscape.