The week in social media: Parties campaign on Facebook
Our round up of the week's biggest social media news and insights:
Parties campaign on Facebook
BBC Trending is working with BBC Newsnight and BBC local radio to investigate the role of social media advertising in the general election, and is asking the public to send it examples of political adverts on their social media feeds. The aim is to shed light on political Facebook advertising, often described as ‘dark advertising.’ Current rules on election advertising spending don't cover online advertising, allowing Facebook to cash in. The Electoral Commission estimates that in the 2015 election more than 99 per cent of spending on social media was with Facebook, the vast majority of it by the Conservatives. Now the 2017 election is being fought partly through targeted online advertising, but with little oversight of what is taking place, and digital strategist Rob Blackie believes that Facebook and Google should volunteer or be forced to publish every political advert they run. Meanwhile, in a response to criticism around issues like ‘fake news,’ Facebook has rolled out its Perspectives feature which puts a prompt beneath articles linked to the election allowing users to read each party's position on major issues. The location-sensitive feature is aimed at making party manifestos and policies more accessible.
This is only a glimpse into the scale of social media advertising in Britain. Carl Miller of Demos says that he will be "astonished" if UK political parties spend less than a total of GBP3.5m on targeted Facebook adverts during the general election campaign.
PR and Marketing in Social Media
Channel 4 introduces Ackley Bridge content on Snapchat
Channel 4 will air scenes from its new school drama Ackley Bridge on Snapchat, in what it claims is a UK first. The short form videos are designed to introduce lead characters from the show, who will tell their stories in the same way young people use the social network. Later episodes of the series will be supported with additional Snapchat videos to help create a world outside the TV programme. Ackley Bridge is set in a new multicultural academy school in a fictional Yorkshire town and is directed by comedian David Schneider. The unique Snapchat content will be shot on set at the same time the TV drama is filmed. Channel 4’s head of marketing James Walker explained: 'This Snapchat series, aimed at reaching millennials on the device they use most, offers young audiences a way to engage with the world of Ackley Bridge and extend their viewing experience in a way that feels authentic to the platform whilst perfectly complementing the TV viewing experience.'
Channel 4 said it was the first time it has used Snapchat, which has 6.3 million UK users aged between 13 and 24, to promote exclusive content in this way. The campaign was driven by research from the youth-led creative network Livity, which found social media can propel word of mouth among teenagers and young adults, with ‘fear of missing out’ helping to promote content discovery
Social Media Brands...
Snapchat moves to create a safer environment for brands
Snapchat is responding to increasing concerns about where brand’s messages appear by expanding relationships with Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Moat to evaluate its technology and procedures for addressing brand safety. DoubleVerify’s Wayne Gattinella said the tie-up would provide a ‘meaningful layer of protection for brand advertisers.’ Snapchat’s brand safety protocol is designed to block any ads from appearing adjacent to user-generated content deemed objectionable. GroupM previously notified clients that Snapchat was unable to guarantee wholesome homes for all adverts, and called for third-party vendor monitoring and blocking capabilities. Digital media in general is under pressure and advertisers have threatened to quit YouTube over ad placement, and Facebook faced brand outrage after disturbing incidents were streamed on the platform.
Snapchat advertisers seeking safety have been moving into its more curated sections. "In most of our ad products, curation plays a big role in creating a safe space for advertising," Snapchat said in a blog post in April. Bringing IAS, DoubleVerify and Moat on board to help protect brands in other areas could help support Snapchat's ad business in its un-curated areas.
BBC stream election debate via Twitter
The BBC has announced that the election debate on Wednesday night, and four other election specials, will be streamed live on Twitter as well as broadcast on television. The first partnership of its kind between the BBC and the platform saw a ‘real-time curated timeline’ of tweeted commentary from BBC experts and BBC Reality Check. One analyst suggested it could help engage audiences less likely to watch live TV. Twitter already has experience in running live video streams during elections, and in the US partnered with Bloomberg to live stream the presidential debates ahead of the November 2016 election. While the BBC deal is nowhere near as expansive as Bloomberg’s, it does open the door to potential future negotiations in that area.
The hashtag for the election debate programme was #bbcdebate and a page for the live stream set up on Twitter. A similar arrangement will be made for two Question Time Leaders' Specials on 2 and 4 June, the Newsbeat Youth Debate on 6 June and the Election Night Results Special.
BT Sport and Snapchat partner for Champions League final
BT Sport has agreed a commercial partnership with Snapchat to offer UK Snapchatters a new way to experience the climax of this season’s UEFA Champions League - a special ‘Our Story.’ Snapchat produced Our Stories for the competition’s semi-finals and will now cover the June 3rd final direct from Cardiff. The Snapchat ‘Our Story’ is produced in-house by Snapchat and features clips provided by BT Sport of key match moments along with behind-the-scenes Snaps taken by the teams and players participating in the competition. It will also feature Snaps submitted from fans in the stadium and at home. As part of the collaboration, interactive AR Lenses will be also be made available globally to allow all football fans around the world to show their support for their favourite team, and official sponsor Adidas will be running vertical video ads between the Our Story coverage.
While Snapchat has remained tight-lipped on any future deals in the pipeline with BT Sport, its move to team up with the broadcaster for one of the most significant sporting events of the year may be a warning flare to its rivals.