6 Issues Traditional Banks Need to Get on Top of Before the Disruptors Move In

Disruption is, of course, an overused term, but there’s no getting away from it regardless of what industry you’re in.

The world is moving quickly and the slow moving behemoths that once dominated particular fields have suddenly found themselves competing with far more dynamic entities.

The financial industry is no different. While enormous banks that rely on reputation may still be prospering, fast moving challenger banks are able to address the quickly changing wants and needs of consumers in ways their established competitors simply aren’t built to do.

The Brandwatch React team has been interested in this trend for a while, observing the rise to popularity of Monzo in the UK and then turning our attention to the US. We took a look at six of the biggest consumer banks in the US and the mentions of their customer support handles on Twitter, to see what kinds of complaints where being levelled at the giants that disruptor banks could move to address.

Our latest Social Outlook report showed that people are particularly willing to air their negative thoughts around financial services companies on social media, so we imagined there’d be plenty to pick up on.

To identify these issues, we scrolled through mentions and used Brandwatch Analytics’ topic cloud component to surface common themes.

While there were six key issues that we found, there’s one central theme: convenience. Here are the most prominent issues we found in the data.

1. Fees

Getting charged for things that people didn’t want to be charged for was highest on the list.

Unexpected fees were prominent, as were foreign transaction fees. That said, lots of the mentions were simply questions about fees.

Making sure customers are clear about fees and, where possible, scrapping them, could get rid of large chunks of these queries and complaints and the distrust they can encourage.

2. Customer service

Comments about the banks’ customer service came next.

Customers did not hold back if they felt the banks’ customer service wasn’t up to scratch. A number of people called the banks rude, while others were calling out how long they’d been waiting for a reply or on hold for.

Banks can target this by offering round-the-clock, easily accessible and well resourced customer help that gets people to answers quickly.

3. ATM issues

Faraway or faulty ATM as well as charges from them were common themes in this topic.

Physically getting to an ATM can be an issue not only for people who aren’t as mobile as others but also for those who expect instant results – a theme that we’ll explore later on. Placing a physical barrier between a customer and the service they need is not going to make people happy when they’ve become accustomed to immediacy from other products they use.

When you get to an ATM and it isn’t working it can feel even worse. Here’s an excerpt from a Brandwatch Case Study where Sparkassen-Finanzportal Gmbh dealt speedily with one that had broken by paying attention to the social data:

The Sparkassen-Finanzportal Gmbh monitoring team noticed a sudden spike in conversation surrounding one branch in particular. Using Brandwatch Analytics realtime data and instant email alerts the team were able to identify localized conversation focused on an ATM which had broken. Using their escalation process the monitoring team were able to inform the branch in question and instructed their technical team to deal with the issue promptly. The team at the branch hadn’t identified the ATM was out of action, and it was online conversation that alerted Sparkasse to the issue in real-time.

4. Security

There are two main themes that we picked out when scrolling through mentions regarding safety, security and data breaches:

Seemingly overzealous security checks

People appreciate security, but being checked on every log in is not something that everyone appreciates. We found a number of people who were irritated by the verification steps they had to go through.

If banks can make these steps more convenient without compromising on security (perhaps using face ID or similar) they may win some favor here.

The actual security of funds

It’s clear that people are concerned with data breaches and will reach out on social asking questions about whether things are safe and what will be done. Ensuring that communications are out there and visible at times when concern about security breaches are high is vital to keeping customers calm.

That said, our recent Financial Services report found that people are far more interested in convenience than security. This very much fits with the other issues mentioned in this blog.

5. Obtaining new cards

Sometimes people have trouble having their new card shipped to them because they’re travelling or have moved, and again, it’s an issue of physical spaces getting in the way of what consumers need there and then.

People waiting on cards seemed particularly prominent – something that can cause a lot of inconvenience with today’s often cashless transaction focus.

While these can be difficult issues to solve while we’re still paying for things with pieces of plastic that break and expire, banks must do what they can to help those who find themselves without the means to pay for what they need to be able to quell these complaints.

6. Online banking

Issues with websites not working and general questions were also one of our issues for banks to be aware of. Ensuring an efficient, easy to use and quick to update online service is another way banks can avoid answering lots of questions and dealing with impatient customers.

In this era of immediacy – particularly one day delivery and instant access to movies and services – big banks are not just being compared to other big banks when it comes to supplying a convenient customer experience. They’re competing with agile start-ups in the financial services industry as well as companies that go way beyond that field that are capable of quick change and fast moving service. These fast movers, both in the way they operate and the way they provide their services, are the ones established banks need to watch out for.


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Do Restaurant Chains Need Social Media? Yes, and Here’s Why.

Today I woke up to the shock news that JD Wetherspoon, owners of the UK’s much-loved budget pub/restaurant chain Wetherspoons (“spoons”) is quitting social media.

Here’s the post (although it doesn’t exist anymore – the company didn’t hang about on fulfilling its promise of quitting social).

Quoted by the BBC, Chairman Tim Martin said: “We were also concerned that pub managers were being side-tracked from the real job of serving customers,” he said. “I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever.”

His comments are interesting, and there’s support for the idea on social media that the pub’s social presence probably wasn’t doing much for helping them shift their (admittedly spectacular) burger and a pint deals.

The revelation that Wetherspoons is ditching social media could be considered a massive blow to the industry’s social presence as far as the UK food and beverage scene goes – there are at least 900 Wetherspoons pubs in the UK, and the brand is, as Mollie says, a household name.

Do Wetherspoons need their social media accounts? Well, that’s up for debate. Do they need social media? I would argue yes – yes they do.

Here’s why:

The argument for owned accounts

Wetherspoons have clearly made up their minds, but there are two key ways that owned accounts can benefit food and beverage companies particularly.

Customer service

Social media is a key avenue for feedback, and blocking out @ mentions that contain valuable insights into customers’ experiences within eateries and pubs is a bold choice.

When it comes to giving feedback, social media offers them a very direct and immediate opportunity to do so. Now, giving feedback via the company’s website, customers will have to find the customer service section (something that isn’t immediately visible in the website’s current form). By forfeiting a chunk of their online feedback, Wetherspoons may now be missing out on important insights and patterns in how customers are experiencing their staff and premises.

Reach

This might be obvious for any brand, but there’s no reason that food and beverage brands can’t excel at reaching enormous audiences on social and improving their reach and presence of mind among consumers despite already being a household name.

Wendy’s in the US, for example, was able to help nugget fan Carter get the most retweeted tweet of all time – a historic social media moment that can’t have been bad for their nugget sales (depending on how many the guy ate).

Meanwhile, Denny’s Diner is a prime example of how to do social media marketing well. Last year we analyzed how a single memey tweet got them a huge amount of engagement and press coverage.

You can read that analysis here:


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The argument for not detaching from social media entirely

Of course, deleting owned accounts is different to switching off social media as a source of insight. It’s not clear if Wetherspoons is doing that, too.

Here’s why they definitely shouldn’t.

Detecting a crisis

If things go wrong, specifically when it comes to food, brand managers need to know about it fast. So ensuring that alerts are set up for spikes in negative mentions surrounding food is vital for making sure any potential crises are caught early and dealt with swiftly.

Arguably, getting messaging out quickly in a crisis demands social media accounts to keep people informed easily. That said, KFC’s printed apology for a recent crisis in the UK got impressive results. Here’s the full analysis.

That Wetherspoons will continue to print their magazine which customers can read in the pub while not posting on social media is a really interesting move away from digital communication.

Learning about customer wants and needs

Away from crises, cutting off social means cutting off feedback both negative and positive about the brand as well as the industry.

Social data research can be a hugely valuable source of information both in itself and alongside traditional research methods.

Is a particular beer gaining traction online? Are there any influential personalities who are shifting consumer attention away from the brands currently stocked in pubs? Is there a need for more vegan or gluten free food on the menu? All of these questions could be researched using social data.

Campaign tracking

Regardless of the conversations surrounding the everyday running of the chain or the industry as a whole, Wetherspoons may want to keep track of how people are reacting to their various campaigns, whether they’re ads or pro-Brexit beer mats.

React about how quick-serve hamburger restaurant Jack in the Box tracked their own campaigns using Brandwatch here:


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Sugar Tax: The Social Data Around the Raging Debate

As of April 2018, the UK has joined a small group of countries who have introduced a “sugar tax”, specifically on soft drinks. Manufacturers are now required to pay a levy on the high sugar drinks they produce, with many brands cutting back on the sugar they include in their drinks ahead of the tax being enforced.

In many cases it’s consumers and not manufacturers who will bear the brunt of this tax, and questions are being raised over how much raising the cost of sugary drinks will do to tackle obesity.

Tax Sugar content
18p per litre Drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml
24p per litre Drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml

The sweet-toothed Brandwatch React team can’t resist a juicy debate and began analyzing the social data on the sugar tax and general perceptions on sugar free goods.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • How the sugar tax has gone down with consumers, and the roots of the debate
  • The brand being mentioned most in sugar tax conversations, and where brands find themselves
  • How popular #SugarFree is amongst other popular diet hashtags.

Sugar tax data: Quick maths

We tracked more than 31,000 public mentions of “sugar tax” or #sugartax on social media on 6 April, the day the tax came into effect in the UK.

58% of gender-categorized authors tweeting about the tax between 2-8 April were men and 42% were women. When we looked at sentiment-categorized tweets during that time, men were more likely to be tweeting negatively about the issue.

A look at the most used topics within the conversation revealed that health issues like diabetes, obesity and tooth decay were key, but there are clearly oppositional views surrounding whether the tax will be enough to help with those issues, or whether the tax should be in place in the first place. (As context, as well as having the effect of putting consumers off buying more expensive sugary drinks, the money gained from the tax is to be put aside to go towards health initiatives.)

Artificial sweeteners also took up a chunk of the conversation, with many complaining about replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners that could also have adverse health effects.

The roots of the Sugar Tax argument

There are all kinds of views on the sugar tax, but from our read of opinions on social they mostly come down to responsibility. Is it the responsibility of the government to make sugary drinks harder to consume? Is it the responsibility of the sugary drinks companies to reduce the unhealthy content of their products? Is it the responsibility of the individual to exercise self control when it comes to their sugar intake and pay more for unhealthy soft drinks?

3.5% of the sugar tax mentions we captured between 2-8 April contained the term “Nanny State”.

Meanwhile, others called for wide food industry changes. One popular post read:

Having a “sugar tax” on sugary drinks isn’t going to stop obesity. How about making healthy food cheaper and making them more available for people who are on lower incomes? Putting tax on everything isn’t helpful while the healthier food is much more expensive.

While many agreed, others claimed that healthier options are in fact more affordable than unhealthy ones. The point is very much up for debate.

In short, the issue is messy and any proposed solutions are plagued with political disputes.

A trend towards health and wellness

“X free” diets are seeing something of an explosion right now, as the internet connects the health conscious and food influencers guide the uneducated through the latest trends in dietary excellence (rightly or wrongly).

The market for alcohol free versions of traditionally boozy beverages is drinking less than their parents.

The gluten free movement is huge – we found more gluten free than vegetarian mentions within food influencer conversations last year.

Meanwhile, meat free alternatives are enjoying a boom in sales.

People aren’t just reducing the perceived dietary vices of the day, they’re cutting them out all together.

What does #sugarfree look like on Instagram?

It might not strike you as the most fashionable of hashtags but we found 11k mentions of it on the site during the same time period as we measured Sugar Tax conversation (2 – 8 April 2018).


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An uncomfortable time for brands?

So, with consumers becoming more health conscious and a messy political fight about whether sugar should be taxed as well as bubbling conversation around the adverse health affects of artificial sweeteners, where do brands find themselves?

We can start by looking at how brands are discussed in relation to sugar tax.

Coca-Cola is the most prominent brand in the conversation, according to Brandwatch’s Entities function that surfaces organizations being mentioned within the data. The brand was one of the only companies that did not reduce the amount of sugar (in ‘red Coke’) and this meant that the tax was imposed on it. 500ml bottles were subsequently replaced by smaller ones, including in meal deals, leading to frustration from customers.

TESCO replied to one concerned #sugartax tweeter “Coca Cola have actually made changes to the sizing of their bottles and cans to keep the price the same.”

A number of supermarkets were pulled into the Sugar Tax debate on social, including Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Morrisons. It is at the store that many people seemed to become aware of changes to sugary drink prices, and the stores themselves had to deal with a number of complaints and inquiries around the issue. When changes in the law decided months in advance are only first come across by customers when the changes are visible on the shelves it’s possible that supermarkets might benefit from informing customers earlier about significant price changes so as not to be hit by a wave of negativity.

They weren’t the only sugary drink distributors to be hit by criticism on the front line.

Meanwhile, Lucozade and Ribena (who altered the sugar content in their drinks) are being criticized for the different taste. One Redditor enquired:

With the sugar tax coming in today, as I drink bucket loads of Cola I was wondering if there is a sugar free alternative that doesn’t have that horrid aftertaste. I’ve tried to switch to Lucozade but they’ve changed the recipe and now it just tastes horrible!

A sticky situation

High levels of sugar cause health problems but changing the sweetness elements could effect the taste of a popular, familiar product. Artificial sweeteners are not perceived very positively at all – a scroll through the artificial sweetener mentions within the sugar tax conversation revealed a number of health-related complaints. And people don’t want to pay more for the same product (or the same for a smaller version of that product). It’s a sticky situation.

The ideal way for brands to get around this is to find healthier alternative ingredients to their most loved products that make them safer to consumer and hopefully cheaper to buy (because the tax would be removed). But if that was easy it would probably have been done already.

Another way is to boost the appeal of their healthier “diet” or “light” options, perhaps by linking them to popular dietary trends. As we found in some recent research around veganism, there are plenty of internet sites that host thriving vegan communities who are open to discussing their favorite meat free products. Brands could identify and work with influencers within #sugarfree conversations to boost awareness and, ideally, sales of their healthier products.

The more socially responsible brands may want to take a proactive approach with their unhealthiest offerings by advertising them as something to be enjoyed in moderation and making nutritional information as clear as possible, although commercial interests may get in the way of this.

Something that sugary drinks do have going for them is that people value convenience, even when they’re talking about money we found they talk about convenience over security. If sugary items can make themselves appealing to thirsty impulse purchasers among the cheaper, less sugary items next to them they shouldn’t be harmed too much by the sugar tax.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information


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Social Data Showdown: The Kardashian/Jenners on Twitter

Yesterday I had a particularly bad day. I think it’s got something to do with Mercury being in retrograde, or the moon or something. But anyway, I got home and rage-ate four frankfurters and two babybel cheeses and cried because my cat wasn’t talking to me.

But then! Then I knew how to get out of my funk. There’s only one way, if you’re trying to lay off the Rioja mid-week. I turned on the TV, searched ‘KEEPINGUP’ and settled in for a blissful hour of sisterly rowing, excellent hair extensions, and hella beige Yeezy athleisure wear.

I’m talking about the best show on TV other than ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ with Michael Portillo – Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

As seasoned viewers, and basically anyone who has a pulse, knows, life got a whole lot more komplicated for the Kardashians lately. From the rift between ex-partners Caitlyn and Kris, to Kylie’s secret pregnancy, to Kim’s surrogate having pregnancy issues – basically everyone was pregnant at one point – and now Kourtney’s emergence as comedy genius. They’re all racking up more headlines, tweets and Instagram comments than ever.

The success of KUWTK has led to numerous spin-offs, including Kourtney and Kim Take Miami (good), Kourtney and Kim Take New York (also good), Khloé & Lamar (fine), Dash Dolls (bad), Rob & Chyna (worse), and Life of Kylie (objectively terrible). What I’m getting at is that they’re probably the most influential family on the planet, don’t @ me.

So let’s talk influence. Recently, Kylie Jenner sent one tweet that reportedly cost Snapchat $1.3 billion. Not a laughing matter. Unless you’re a competitor of Snap.inc.

Of course, not all of the clan have as much influence.

For our latest Social Data Showdown, we decided to take to the data to find out truly who is the most social-savvy of the crew.

The most talkative

So who of the Kardashian/Jenners talks most on Twitter?

In the period we measured – between 1 Jan – 28 Mar ’18 – we found that historic Queen of the Kardashians, Kim, tweeted nearly 900 times in three months. She’s a grafter. Gotta make rent!

 

But does putting lots of effort into the platform get you more influence?

The most influential Kardashian/Jenner

The K/J Twitter accounts were ranked according to a selection of criteria that are added together to create their influence score. This is a measure of how influential an account is over time, based on the level of genuine engagement they are creating. While lots of followers, retweets and replies will help, the more influential the people they engage with, the better the score.

Can Rob and his sock line manage to climb the ranks based on this? Unlikely. Sorry, Rob.

Turns out that Kylie Jenner is 5th most talkative, but manages to be 3rd most influential. This of course is based on Twitter data – this would likely look a lot different if we were to rank based on Instagram data (which indeed we may, one day).

Chatty Kim K hits the top of the list easily.

What are their favorite emojis?

The question of THE CENTURY!!!

We backfilled the Kardashian/Jenners’ Instagram and Twitter posts to 1 January 2018 to see what their most-used emojis are. The data seems to imply that if you’re not using emojis, you become less influential. If that’s not an incredible insight, I don’t know what is.

You’ll see lots of hearts, as well, with Kim and matriarch Kris favouring the classic rouge, and Kendall opting for the edgier, more fashionable, mauve. Kourtney’s choice of the snoozy emoji appears to be linked to her advice on co-sleeping with her young children. And she’s probably tired of Scott’s exploits.

Rob’s favourite emoji is the blue heart because YAWN, SORRY, CAN’T. Is there a sock emoji? It should probably be the sock emoji.

Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t tweeted any emojis.

What can we learn from all this?

So, the key takeaway from this surely Nobel Prize winning piece of academia is:

If you want fame, fortune and influence take your Twitter strategy advice from Kim K.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information


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Plastic Data: Consumers Are Becoming More Interested in Plastic Waste

Plastic has been on our screens a lot recently, whether it’s in the news or in our social feeds.

Plastic rushing through rivers. Plastic killing whales. Plastic wrecking sites of natural beauty. The damage packaging and plastic bottles can do is illustrated with horrible visuals, and images are powerful in bringing about change.

Last week the Brandwatch React team were sent a Twitter request from a good friend who wanted to read about what the social data says about plastic and, with a staff trip to help clean up Brighton beach coming at the end of the month and Earth Day just around the corner, we thought we’d oblige.

A delve into the great ocean of plastic pollution data ensued.

Plastic, plastic, everywhere;                                                                              For just a drop to drink.

Conversation about plastic is rising. We looked at historical tweets surrounding plastic waste, plastic pollution and other related key words.

Conversation so far this year in Q1 is more than double the size of what it was in Q1 2017.

Not only are people talking about the problems plastic causes, but they’re googling the topic more, too.

Women are talking about it more than men, with about 56% of gender-categorized authors involved in the conversation being female between 1 January 2017 – 31 March 2018.

What’s behind the boost in plastic interest?

There’s no arguing about plastic doing damage around the world, but there are plenty of other things that do harm to our environment that aren’t such a hot topic. What’s special about plastic that’s getting people talking?

Getting people interested in environmental issues is no easy feat, but we found a couple of trends that have got plastic to the front of people’s minds.

Blue Planet 2

In late 2017 the BBC aired the hotly anticipated Blue Planet 2  – an incredibly show narrated by the legendary Sir David Attenborough.

The much loved ocean show did not disappoint and bought the devastating impact of plastic waste on to the screens across the world.

It did so well that it appears to have created double the amount of Twitter conversation about plastic waste than Greenpeace did in the time period we measured.

This tweet was particularly resonant.

That’s not at all to say that Greenpeace is doing a bad job. They’ve had multiple significant spikes in conversation surrounding their campaigns around plastic.

Fruit jokes

People seem to really love a joke about why supermarkets waste plastic by wrapping up items with their own natural packaging like oranges and bananas.

A now suspended account tweeted this joke, with the subsequent retweets causing the biggest spike in plastic waste conversation that we found since January 2017.

If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we don’t have to waste plastic on them

Want to get people to care about your cause? Use ironic humour and show how wildlife is suffering because of what you’re protesting against and you’ll start a revolution.

#PlasticFree

Plastic free challenges have been a new favorite feature on big news sites, as well as becoming a popular hashtag.

Will brands listen to consumers who are concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment or even seeking alternative products with more sustainable packaging?

Brands are being called upon to make changes

Plastic making its way into the sea, for example, presents moral questions for both people and organizations. People are often guilty of not recycling their single-use plastic packaging. But organizations are also guilty of choosing to manufacture their packaging from plastic in the first place. Plastic is a convenient option for both people and organizations but that convenience comes at a terrible price if the waste it produces is not handled appropriately.

Within the plastic waste conversation, we used Brandwatch’s new Entities feature to find organizations being mentioned most. Among bodies like the World Economic Forum, the European Union, and charities like Greenpeace we also found a whole lot of brands.

Coca-Cola made up a significant chunk of the organization conversation, with around 3,800 mentions dating back to the beginning of the year. Within the Coca-Cola mentions one of the most prominent topic was a petition calling for them to do more around plastic waste reduction, with nearly 80,000 signatures at the time of writing.

In defence of the company, they have pledged to cut plastic packaging waste.

At the same time as people complaining about organizations’ complicity in the damage plastic can do to the environment, much of the conversation promotes good work done by companies to make things better. Here’s an initiative from Tesco which highlights vulnerable sea creatures and rewards shoppers for using recyclable bags.

Its not just text mentions that brands can get the message from.

Packaging often looks great in marketing material and on the shelf, but looking at where it ends up after consumers are done with it can paint a different picture of its effect on the world.

With Brandwatch Image Insights we looked at logos for popular brands of drinks that come in plastic bottles. A search among all those pictures for the word “waste” quickly surfaced this image.

This probably  isn’t a situation you want to see your logo used in.

Photographs that show discarded brand packaging might not be protesting its destruction – it could just be on the floor in the background. Either way, visual depictions of a damaging legacy of product packaging isn’t the way that brand managers tend to want their logos appearing on the internet. As non-biodegradable trash builds up, brands who mass produce products with plastic packaging can expect to see more and more visual content that sees their logos littering the ground or ocean. Image Insights can give brands a potentially stark reminder of what happens to their branded packaging after use.

Measures like encouraging customers to recycle (perhaps by making clear on the packaging the materials used so it’s easier for consumers to know if something is recyclable) and reviewing materials used are one way brands may begin to start clearing up this mess.

Plastic is a problem that can’t be swept under the rug

I believe that what we’re seeing in the data is a rare but encouraging point of union from people across the internet and globe, coming together to voice concerns about a threat to the natural world.

This is a problem that everyone can do their bit to solve, but brands should be very aware that they are being held to account on this and by getting involved early they could reap some really positive social rewards.

A campaign from Adidas that involved making shoes from recycled plastic was one of a few ways that we saw a brand gaining prominence in the plastic waste conversation in a really positive way.

💙 ONE MILLION Shoes made by #adidas from ♻Recycled Sea Plastics 🌊😍 last year – How Amazing is that?! THE CHANGE IS COMING 🌴🌾

A post shared by Apr 3, 2018 at 3:11pm PDT

It’s not too late for brands to get involved in this conversation and make bold steps that can win wider customer favor and, with the conversation around plastic waste growing, inaction could do harm both to the environment and their reputation.


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Who Bit Beyoncé? Analyzing a Global Witch Hunt

Every now and again something happens that brings everyone together. It’s usually a question that no one can really answer for sure.

That dress – was it white or blue? April the giraffe – when would she give birth? Falcon Heavy – would it end in applause or a fireball?

This week a whole controversy was born and the speculation is in full swing. It’s definitely up there with those other “big” questions.

Who bit Beyoncé?

This all started when Tiffany Haddish told GQ that an unnamed actress bit Beyoncé on the face (in the face?) at a party. Chrissy Teigen has also hinted that she knows who the person is.

People have honestly texted me mood boards about this. Like, actually full CSI with pictures of actresses connected with red string as to where in the country they were that night.

CHRISSY TEIGEN TOLD US WEEKLY

I knew it was something the React team would have to investigate so I created a Brandwatch query with two simple words that were searched for across public social media platforms. “Bit Beyoncé”

What did I find? Just a casual 60,000 people talking about it.

6 weeks of human productivity

If each of those mentions took 30 seconds to craft that is 6 weeks of human productivity being used up on this question alone. 6 weeks.

Are we any closer to finding out who actually bit Beyoncé based on all those tweets and articles? Well, you could say the speculation has put pressure on those who know to spill the beans. But it doesn’t look like anything is being spilt any time soon.

Who actually bit Beyoncé?

I had 60,000 mentions of “bit Beyoncé” within their surrounding context so I wondered how I might go about working out who is most likely to have bit Beyoncé based upon the speculation. I know, I should work for the CIA.

Then I remembered that Brandwatch’s new update to the topic cloud component could help me surface the people who are involved in the story. I opened a topic cloud, removed all the keywords, hashtags, locations etc and asked it to just return the names coming up frequently in the conversation.

Here are those names.

Now, the results aren’t perfect (this version of the topics cloud it’s still in Beta) – you’ll see a few non-names in there like “GQ Tiffany”.

But we also have some very interesting characters who might have something to do with all of this.

Lena Dunham? Jennifer Lawrence? Kelly Rowland? Jim Carrey?

Could the Queen Bey biter be in this very word cloud? Only time (and currently tight lipped celebs who know the truth) will tell.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information


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Revealed: The Internet’s Favorite Dogs

I love dogs. How can you not love a being that is consistently happy despite eating the same meal every single day? A creature that devotes their whole life to you, even when your strongest scent is ‘last night’s party’? My favourite thing about dogs is that even if you’re not a dog lover, they will still love you. Forever.

So what breed is the internet’s favorite dog? This is one of life’s most important questions and I can’t wait to answer it.

The rise of the miniature breeds

We had a look at the UK’s most registered breeds, using the latest statistics from .

We have the obvious favourites that have been on the list for years – the Labradors, the German Shepherds. Meanwhile the newest contenders tend to be much smaller dogs, with French Bulldogs, Miniature Schnauzers, and Miniature Dachshunds rising into the top 10 for the first time in recent years.

a bar chart shows the top registered dog breeds, from Kennel Club data. Labradors are the most popular, followed by cocker spaniels and french bulldogs.

We took that list and searched for the breeds globally (in English) in public social media posts to see which was the internet’s favorite, as well as looking at wider trends in the doggo-related conversation.

Finding the internet’s favorite dogs

Here are a few notes on the methodology, for anyone keen on sniffing out the details.

As both Springer and Cocker Spaniels are in the list, we added them together to search for ‘Spaniels’ collectively. We found that people aren’t very specific between these two online, making it hard to differentiate. So, by default, we added #11 (Miniature Dachshunds) into the mix.

Something I didn’t expect to see was the lack of conversation surrounding Miniature Dachshunds despite the recent rise in popularity. I noticed that a lot of people don’t use their formal name, with mentions often having dropped the ‘miniature’ or going straight for ‘sausage’ and ‘weiner’ dog.

Also, on data sources, when I had a look at the top sites for where the data is being shared, Instagram took up 92% of the conversation. I mean, how else are you supposed to tell the world how cute your #pupper is without a photographic evidence?

Revealed: The internet’s favorite dogs

*Drum roll*

A pie chart shows the internet's favorite dogs according to our data. French Bulldogs are top followed by labradors, golden retrievers, german shepherds and bulldogs.

French Bulldogs take the lead as the most talked about dog in public social media posts despite not being the top of the Kennel Club chart.

They are unsurprisingly closely followed by Labradors (a.k.a the UK’s favourite), with the least talked about breed we searched for being Border Terriers despite them being a top 10 registered breed for years on end.

As a pug owner, I was secretly disappointed to see that they weren’t the top of every single chart. I told my dog, Gary, about the results. He wasn’t too impressed either…

Gary, u k hun? 📷 @klmiss

A post shared by Gary (@garypug13) on

New dog, anyone?

So with this information, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

I created a rule, applied it to my project and searched for mentions using the terms ‘I want to buy…’, ‘I want to get a…’ or ‘Someone buy me a…’ and this is where the aim of my project changed entirely.

Hardly anyone wanted to buy a dog. Surely that’s not correct – everyone wants a dog, don’t they?

And then the penny dropped.

I changed my rule to search for all mentions surrounding people wanting to adopt or rescue a dog, looking for the commonly used hashtags #adoptdontshop and so on. The results that came back gave me faith in humanity.

Almost 100% of the conversation was from those wanting to adopt a dog rather than buy one.

What can I do with this information?

Being a self-confessed Crazy Dog Lady, I wish I could adopt every single dog that needs a home, and believe me, if my wife let me I would be a stay at home dog-mom and just run through fields with my loyal companions all day, every day.

Unfortunately that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, what can I do with this data? How can we try to help get these dogs that need a home to the thousands of people that want them?

I decided to compare the adoption data I found with that surrounding  famous rescue centre in the UK with a strong social presence, highly engaged celebrity influencers and even a TV programme.

I found an insight that could potentially change a pooch’s life forever.

BDCH’s most common topics are different to those of the ‘adoption’ mentions that we found earlier. They have a lot less hashtags in the most common words surrounding their brand compared to the adoption mentions, which I found strange seeing as Instagram is the most common place for us to share/stare at pictures of our beautiful furry friends. When I looked further, I found that BDCH are in fact using hashtags, just not always the hashtags that the online dog-loving community are using.

While #adoptdontshop is huge in the dog community on Twitter, we couldn’t find it making much impact in the Battersea conversation. On Instagram, plenty of people were using #adoptdontshop in relation to Battersea (talking about their own dogs who had been adopted from there) but we couldn’t find much from Battersea itself related to the hashtag.

Analyzing public, online conversations surrounding seeking adoption could be used to their advantage when it comes to re-homing dogs. A simple change of hashtags and wording might help them reach an even larger audience of those that are out there looking for a new best friend. It’s definitely worth a try.

If all else fails, BDCH are welcome to send any lonely dogs to us here at Brandwatch. I think Gary would love 500 brothers and sisters 🐶

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information


25 questions answered using Twitter data

Question 17: Are dog and cat people really that different? 🐶😹

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I Spent a Week With a Brandwatch Vizia Screen on My Desk. Here’s My Review

Last week I spent four solid days face-to-face with a Brandwatch Vizia screen displaying all my key numbers, breaking news and more. It was a big change from the usual way I work and, as far as I’m aware, it hasn’t been done before.

Your own personal command centre isn’t generally how we pitch Vizia, (think C-Suite and global insight distribution), but I thought it would be interesting to give it a go.

My role as a social data journalist at Brandwatch React can be split out into two slightly more recognizable job titles – community manager (I look after the @BW_React Twitter account) and content marketing (I spend most of my time writing stories about, and visualizing, Brandwatch data). I knew that I could plug my own data into Vizia and display it on one of the screens on my desk so I decided to see how having that data in front of me would affect the way I do my job.

My week with Vizia was a really interesting experience and one that I enjoyed sharing by live tweeting my results. In this blog I’ll give a fuller explanation of the experiment, how it affected my work and what I plan to do next.

Setting up

When I started setting up for my experiment I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to display, but I also had very little experience in using the platform. I foresaw hours of complex set up and permission asking ahead but I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was, especially with integrations. Plugging in Google Sheets and Google Slides was easy and while I needed a little help from the website team to get the right Google Analytics view for my particular needs (tracking solely Brandwatch React blog content as opposed to all of the blog content) it was a speedy process.

Getting social data in was also incredibly simple, and the visualizations were easy to move about. Once you’ve got your head around what a slide and a component is (much like with Google Slides and the objects that fill them up) the process of adding new slides and charts and visualizations becomes natural.

I started out looking at, among other things:

  • A network visualization of @BW_React and React link mentions
  • A line graph of React @ and link mentions, as well as a “top authors” visualization
  • A line graph showing unique page views on React content, day-by-day
  • A look at the topics surrounding React each day
  • Trending news and tech news from the Trending Now component, powered by BuzzSumo.

I added and played with the set up throughout the week, experimenting with adding different data sources (I’ll get to that later).

Working with a Vizia screen by your face

So, with my initial set up, off I went into my week of intensive Vizia watching. I wanted to see how having numbers relating to my performance, as well as news and content inspiration, would affect my work. And it certainly did.

In the beginning

Day one was honestly a bit weird. It was strange working with another screen on my desk, but it became more natural as the day went on.

The novelty of this additional screen aside, I immediately saw things pop up that I hadn’t noticed before.

For example, I hadn’t yet clocked that @sarvikas, chief product officer at HMD Global had shared our MWC data with his network, making him a notable figure in my network visualization.

In fact, our MWC data (which named Nokia as the brand that got the most buzz) had been shared by a lot of Nokia fans, and it was making up an enormous chunk of React-related conversation.

I also tried to look at my Vizia screen each morning before I did anything else to see what actions it could prompt me to take during the day. For example, on the Monday I had noticed an unusual spike in traffic to Brandwatch React content over the weekend. Upon closer investigation I realized there had been an uptick in interest for an older story of ours around a conspiracy theory about Avril Lavigne. I took the opportunity to re-share it on social to try to get more out of that interest.

Of course it wasn’t all fine and dandy from the get-go. I realized that some of the news stories coming through my Trending Now component weren’t all that relevant. I had set up a custom feed with social media and tech stories but it needed more refining. Once I’d got it right, it was hugely helpful.

Becoming at peace with my Vizia screen

After a couple of days my extra screen felt a lot more natural and I glanced at it regularly as I went about my work. I really enjoyed getting the latest news (seeing the trending news that Rex Tillerson had been fired fill up my screen definitely meant I was keeping up with current affairs!) and watching mentions come in live was really cool – I was more responsive than usual, since I’m not continuously aware of new mentions unless I’m alerted to them by Brandwatch as important.

The only time I had to really keep my mind off it was when I needed to do some intense writing. But I let Vizia become a major influence in the inspiration for what I wrote. For example, one morning I noticed a tech story about smart speakers was trending. One of the cool things about Brandwatch React is our ability to jump on these kinds of opportunities where we can add to trending conversations, so I quickly gathered data on the three biggest smart speakers and compared them across a range of metrics.

I often have difficulty deciding on what I might write about on a given day when there’s so much going on, so in this instance being alerted to a story with shelf life but that was also currently trending was really helpful. My smart speaker post turned out to be the most popular React blog (in terms of unique page views) in the week since it was published.

The feedback

Part of the way I recorded progress throughout the trial was by noting down little frustrations that I could feed back to the team.

For example, I noted early on that the heatmap component was great for seeing when my audience were engaging with me over the last week, but I’d prefer to see more long term data here, which isn’t currently available.

I also noted that the Trending Now component tended to dwell too long on the pictures without telling me the stories quick enough, meaning I’d be watching for a while waiting to see the story but often only got to glimpse them for a few seconds.

The best parts

My favorite thing about having my own personal command centre was having highly relevant data in front of me. I could constantly track the numbers that are important to me – the ones that help me contribute to wider team targets which are displayed up on the Vizia screen next to our desks for everyone to see.

Of course, all this data is available to me through other means. I can watch mentions come in on Twitter or Tweedeck, I can use BuzzSumo separately to see what’s trending, I can see what my audience are saying about me in Brandwatch Analytics and I can track everything I need to in a Google Sheet. But having it all there, scrolling, gently reminding me of important things throughout the day instead of me having to click around constantly to see what’s happening and what action I should take. This was so much better than my usual click-heavy, eye hogging processes. The insights from my Vizia screen were instant and useful because it allowed me to set it up exactly how I wanted it.

And finally, another of my favorite parts of the experience was playing with new types of data and visualizations. Towards the end of my week with Vizia I was plugging in Google Sheets data that tracked how much water I was drinking each day (I stayed so hydrated last week!) and I had my own to-do list with the week’s priorities and reminders. I also had local news and weather so I knew what was going on in the city without having a guilty Twitter scroll.

Again, it’s super-relevant data that other people in my team wouldn’t necessarily give a hoot about but assisted me with my work and wellbeing.

Will I continue using Vizia as my own personal command centre?

100% yes.


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10 Influential Sports Journalists on Twitter

We love an influencer list, us. That’s why the Brandwatch React team took to Brandwatch Audiences to rank influential sports journalists on Twitter these days.

While never free from politics, sport can bring people together and provide at least some respite from the friction and hardship of day to day life. The people who tell those stories, who get people excited and highlight the important things, deserve to be celebrated and, in a highly competitive field, those who make it to the top are worthy of the followings they have built.

Finding the most influential sports journalists

Screenshot shows the criteria for finding the influential sports journalists

For this research we used Brandwatch Audiences to search for sports reporters and then rank them using influencer metrics.

We looked for sports journalists (defined by any of the key phrases outlined on the right within their bio) who were based in the US and were verified.

The accounts were ranked according to a selection of criteria that are added together to create their influence score. This is a measure of how influential an account is over time, based on the level of genuine engagement they are creating. While lots of followers, retweets and replies will help, the more influential the people they engage with, the better the score.

The follower counts listed below were correct and rounded to nearest million at the time of writing.

We should note that this is definitely not a perfect way of finding the most influential sports journalists – many big sports reporters might not include these words in their bios, for example. The upside of that is that you may find influential personalities you haven’t already heard of in this list!

Here goes!

Now you know how we found them, here’s the list itself. We were pleased to see an even split of male and female journalists, as well as multiple languages represented – the top two most influential people in the list may surprise you.

10. Tom Withers (@twithersAP)

Tom is both a sports writer for the Associated Press and a prolific tweeter who gets great engagement on his tweets.

He’s based in Cleveland.

Influencer score: 63

9. Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle)

Gregg is a journalist based in Seattle working for The News Tribune.

If you want to know about the Seahawks you should join the 25k others who follow Gregg.

Influencer score: 63

8. Tony Massarotti (@TonyMassarotti)

Tony is a long-time Boston sports reporter currently working as a host on The Sports Hub.

He’s got opinions.

Influencer score: 65

7. Dana Jacobson (@danajacobson)

Dana is a CBS sport correspondent based in NYC.

When we checked out her Twitter page she was sharing #MarchMadness stories with her 74k-strong following.

Influencer score: 65

6. Lindsay Czarniak (@lindsayczarniak)

Lindsay has one of the most impressive followings of those on our list with 161k.

She doesn’t over-tweet but she often shares behind-the-scenes looks at both her work and family life.

Influencer score: 65


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5. James Koh (@JamesDKoh)

NFL Network anchor James Koh sahres commentary and GIFs with his 37k followers.

Influencer score: 68

4. Eboni K. Williams (@EboniKWilliams)

FOX News anchor and sports host Eboni shares content from lots of different people on her Twitter page.

She also promotes her work and book Pretty Powerful to her 68k followers.

Influence score: 70

3. Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington)

Jeff is an ESPN sport reporter interested in telling the stories of sports and the people that play them.

Influencer score: 70

2. Goga Ruiz-Sandoval (@BiciGoga)

Goga Ruiz-Sandoval is a journalist specialising in cycling. She’s based in Connecticut and tweets in Spanish to her 197k followers.

Here’s a recent report:

Influence score: 71

1. Carolina Guillen (@caroguillenESPN)

And our number one sports journalist according to our influencer data is Carolina Guillen!

Like @BiciGoga she tweets in Spanish and has the latest on the soccer. With 739k followers, she’s certainly earned her place at the top!

Influence score: 75

And here are our 10 influential sports journalists in a helpfully shareable list 😉 Why not give it a share?

Visualisation shows the influential sports journalists mentioned above

Are you a journalist looking to cover our influential sports journalists data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information.


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Amazon Echo v HomePod v Google Home: The Smart Speaker Data Showdown

It was only a matter of time before the Brandwatch React team fired up Brandwatch Analytics to examine the smart speaker data and determine which of the most popular devices is social’s favorite.

56.3 million smart speaker devices are expected to ship in 2018 and the market is tough, with Google, Amazon and Apple all offering up their own solutions.

Personally, I was put off getting any kind of voice assistant device after a colleague told me that Alexa said the cats speak to her while she is out of the house. My opinions aside, let’s see what social media thinks of the three big players.

We searched for mentions of Google Home, HomePod and Amazon Echo/Amazon Alexa on Twitter going back to 1 January 2018. Here’s what we found

Smart speaker data: Which device is most discussed?

Competition for the “most talked about” award is tight between the Amazon Echo and Apple’s HomePod. Meanwhile, Google Home appears to be lagging on mentions this year.

Bar chart shows smart speaker data related to the number of mentions each speaker has had this year. Amazon Echo has the most, followed by HomePod and with Google Home lagging behind.

 

Which device is talked about most positively?

Lots of mentions might be great, but that’s not the case if they’re all negative.

We took a look at the positive and negative-categorized tweets around each of the smart speaker brands to see which was getting the highest ratio of positive tweets.

Amazon came out on top, closely followed by Google Home. HomePod didn’t do massively well here, but 63% positive mentions isn’t too bad.

A bar chart shows smart speaker data relating to positive and negative tweets. Amazon has 82% positive tweets and Google Home follows with 76%

We were intrigued to see what people were complaining about for each brand, and took a look at popular tweets and themes within the negative-categorized conversation.

Amazon Echo

Reports of Amazon Echo devices letting out creepy cackles have not been met positively. There were lots of people talking about how it was freaking people out.

HomePod

A popular tweet from influencer Grayson Dolan drove a lot of the negativity surrounding HomePod, although whether he was serious is up for question.

Google Home

Meanwhile, coverage surrounding Google Home not being able to answer questions about Jesus was one prominent theme in their negative conversation.

Product comparisons

Something we noticed when examining topics surrounding each of the products was the prominence of the other products within conversations specific to one.

For example, 7% of the conversation around Amazon Echo also mentioned Google Home.

% of conversation that mentions Google Home % of conversation that mentions HomePod % of conversation that mentions Amazon Echo
Conversation about Google Home 100% 6% 11%
Conversation about HomePod 4% 100% 2%
Conversation about Amazon Echo 7% 2% 100%

Google has a particularly high number of mentions relating to the Amazon Echo. In fact, 14% of Google Home mentions reference either the HomePod or Amazon Echo.

Of course, there are lots of people reviewing the pros and cons of each device online, so this isn’t necessarily something to worry about for Google.

The ideal situation, however, is a lot of positive conversation surrounding your brand and comparatively not a lot of attention paid to competitors. In this sense, Amazon is definitely the leader.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? We have plenty more. Email react@brandwatch.com for more information


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We found the top 100 brands delivering the best customer experiences. How do you compare?

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