We are a global agency. We deliver world-class creative ideas with forward-thinking brands. We believe in people, not platforms and the power of social insight to drive business value. We call this social thinking.
We have 11 offices across 5 continents and help brands like adidas, Heineken, Google, Kimberly-Clark, Mondelēz, Intel, Heinz, Expedia and Lenovo.
If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on +65 6423 1051 or drop us an email.

Mobile & Social: The Future of e-Commerce

by Felim McGrath

The team at GlobalWebIndex are great partners to We Are Social, helping us with our day-to-day activities with clients, and providing huge amounts of rich, insightful data for our Digital, Social and Mobile reports. In this guest post, GWI’s Felim McGrath shares his perspective on one of the most important developments he and his team are tracking at the moment, and what it means for marketers.

WeAreSocial’s comprehensive Digital in 2016 report shows us just how quickly the digital landscape is evolving and changing, as millions of new internet users come online each year and consumers continue to embrace the potential of the internet. Along with GlobalWebIndex’s detailed 34-market research on digital consumer behaviours, this report highlights how mobiles and social media will be the key drivers of the future of online commerce.

A glance at Digital in 2016 confirms that mobile is fast becoming the ‘primary’ device for many online adults. Smartphone penetration is reaching new heights around the globe, and we are fast approaching the point where being an internet user means being a smartphone user. And with GWI’s data showing that 2015 was the year when 4G overtook 3G as the most common mobile internet connection among the world’s online population, smartphones can now boast the functionality to seriously challenge all other devices.

This evolution is having a clear impact on the habits of today’s digital consumers. Each year, mobiles are capturing more and more of our daily internet time. In a country like Saudi Arabia, for example, internet users now spend almost as much time online via their phones as their computers, and in China, Indonesia and Brazil the figures not far from equal.  It’s in emerging markets like these where low internet penetration rates mean there is the most potential for major growth in internet populations – a growth that will come on mobile.


All this means that mobiles have the potential to become essential online commerce devices. Already, some Asian markets are showing the impact that mobiles can have on the online shopping behaviours. Last month, close to half of South Koreans used their mobile to shop online. And in China, mobile commerce has become the norm, with consumers now almost as likely to complete a purchase online via their mobile as via a laptop/PC.

As yet, digital consumers in Europe and North America may be more attached to their laptops and PCs for online shopping, but the trend here is clear. In the UK, for example, where more than three-quarters are online shoppers, it may be only 1 in 4 who are buying via mobile now but with smartphones capturing an average of nearly 2 hours of online time per day, it’s only a matter of time before these consumers become mobile shoppers.

WeAreSocial’s report, and GlobalWebIndex’s data, also highlights another key opportunity in the world of online commerce – social. As Digital in 2016 reports, nearly 1 in 3 of the entire world’s population are using social media, a rise of 10% from this time last year. These figures put paid to talk of the ‘social media bubble bursting’. In fact, social media users are now spending more time than ever using social networks each day. In the most enthusiastic markets, like the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico, users are devoting over 3 hours daily to social media, while in most European markets we are seeing daily figures of 1-2 hours.


With such a significant amount of online time devoted to social media, there’s clear potential not only for advertising and marketing via social networks, but also for directly monetising users via ‘social commerce’. The last year has seen some of the world’s biggest social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, testing or introducing integrated commerce options, acting as the middle-men between buyers and brands. The networks themselves have a clear interest in pushing this trend, both to increase engagement with their platforms and to open up healthy new revenue streams.

GWI’s research clearly shows that digital consumers are comfortable using social networks to find new brands and research products they are interested in buying. It’s only a short (but important) step to convincing these consumers to complete their purchase on the network itself.

Again, Asia shows the way forward here. Messaging apps like Line and WeChat have pushed beyond simple chat apps to integrate a broad range of commerce options and opportunities for monetization, forming the clear inspiration for Facebook’s recent development of Messenger Platform. All these developments mean that social commerce has a bright future.


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We Are Social Asia Tuesday Tune-Up #210

by Aubrey Teng in News

This #ChineseNewYear, tweet a red packet emoji for good fortune
For the first time in Twitter history, users will be able to include a red packet (红包) emoji when tweeting their well wishes.

Simply use any of the following hashtag to add some flair into your tweets:


Traditional Chinese:

Simplified Chinese:

Bahasa Indonesian:

On top of creating a special emoji for #ChineseNewYear, Twitter has partnered with @EChinaNews to send users their annual fortune reading based on one’s zodiac sign. To do so, simply send a tweet with your birth year followed by #CNYfortune.


Fake picture wins photography contest held by Nikon
Nikon’s latest photo contest post on Facebook has garnered a lot of attention, but not for the right reasons. What seemed to be a photo taken at a serendipitous moment by Chay Yu Wei of a plane in mid-flight turned out to be a bad photoshop job. The photography community instantly took to Nikon’s page to expose the fake image through simple levels adjustment on a photo editing app.



One thing led to another and countless user submissions popped up in that same post.



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Digital in 2016

by Simon Kemp in News

Today, we’re very excited to share our huge new Digital in 2016 report: We Are Social’s comprehensive study of digital, social and mobile usage around the world.

Last year’s global report has already been read almost 2 million times on SlideShare, but we’ve also had many requests for information on other countries, so this year we’ve decided to produce a report in three distinct parts:

1. Digital in 2016: the main report, which you can read in the SlideShare embed above (or on SlideShare by clicking here), containing all the digital data, social stats and mobile numbers you need to understand the state of digital around the globe, as well as in-depth studies of 30 of the world’s key economies.

2. 2016 Digital Yearbook: an additional document which contains headline digital, social and mobile data and statistics for 232 countries around the world. You can read and download this report for free too – you’ll find it as another SlideShare embed further down in this post, but you can also find it on SlideShare by clicking here.

3. The Executive Summary: this blog post, which presents our analysis of the key trends and context behind the numbers in this year’s report, as well as our forecasts and predictions for the coming twelve months. You can also download the Executive Summary in PDF form by clicking here.

So what does this year’s report reveal? Read on to dig into the details in our Executive Summary, and to get the links to download this year’s two huge reports for free.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday Tune-Up #209

by Kristie Neo in News

Sina Weibo drops 140-character limit as Twitter ponders move
Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.33.12 PM
While Twitter continues to ponder about dumping its 140-character limit, Sina Weibo has gone ahead to remove theirs.

The Chinese social network is reportedly replacing it with a new format of allowing posts of up to 2,000 characters. “Senior users” will receive this update first on January 28th, followed by all other ordinary accounts a month later.

Google Brings Wi-Fi to Mumbai Railway Station
Wi-Fi is now available for free at Mumbai Central, one of the main railway stations in Mumbai, India. It is the first Indian train station to be equipped with free Wi-Fi.

The service is made available by Alphabet Inc’s Google as part of a partnership with the Indian government to provide better Internet access to the nation. During a visit to the U.S. last September, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the project aims to extend Internet connection to 100 railway stations in India by the end of 2016.

Spotify Ready to Introduce Video Product

Music streaming service Spotify is expanding its foray of content to include video.

Beginning this week, video content will be available on its Android app, followed by its iOS app end next week. This however, will only be available to the U.S., U.K., Germany and Sweden for now. Spotify first announced plans to distribute videos and podcasts last May, involving content providers such as ESPN, Comedy Central, BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios.

Happn, Tinder’s French Competitor, Introduces Voice Messages
Happn, a French mobile dating app, is introducing voice messages to its product.

The new feature is available to both iOS and Android users, and allows Happn users to record and send voice messages of up to one minute, but only to their matches. Happn says this new feature will provide users more means for personal expression between those who have expressed mutual attraction to each other.

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Why brands should hold social to a higher standard

by Mobbie Nazir in News

Admap recently published this article by our Global Research & Insight Director Jamie Robinson and our Chief Strategy Officer Mobbie Nazir, explaining what brands and agencies should be doing to measure the effectiveness of their social media strategies. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it below.

There’s no disputing the fact that investment in digital and social media is increasing; it’s becoming a more and more significant part of a brand’s marketing mix. However, brands still have a tendency to measure success on social metrics such as likes and shares. If social is ever going to really complete with its traditional counterparts when it comes to ROI, marketers need to get smarter when it comes to social measurement – and quickly.

Why brands should hold social to a higher standard
Over 32 million. That’s the number of search results in Google if you search for that infamous term, “social media ROI”. And the reality is that a lot of what you find out there written about the topic is confused. We seem to be stuck in a cycle of wanting more accountability for social media, not knowing where to find this accountability, and mistrust of anyone who says they have any answers.

So why are we here?

Well, let’s face it, as an industry we’re really not helping ourselves. First, we have the social media technology vendors promising one-stop-shop solutions. While many of these tools are extremely valuable to track activity, rarely do they go deep enough to measure the true impact of social activity.

Then we have the agencies that promise business-changing campaigns but yet don’t have the expertise to measure beyond simple metrics. And finally, the brands. Yes, brands play a key role here too. It’s fine to ask for more accountability from social media but too few brands are able to clearly articulate clear goals and objectives for their social media activity.

Perhaps it’s time we collectively face up to our responsibilities. The reality is that understanding and leveraging social behaviour can have a huge impact on a brand’s success. Just look at campaigns such as Always “Like a Girl” or Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” for evidence of this.

Social has evolved from understanding and being the first to execute against platform insights to understanding people and their longer term social motivations and drivers. It’s through understanding these drivers and putting social insight at the heart of your campaigns that social thinking has the potential to drive the greatest impact. So the question now should be not how is my social media performing, but what impact has social insight had on my overall brand or campaign performance? Measurement methodologies need to evolve in line with this new approach to social.

Everything has to start with clear objectives. Without clear objectives you’ll not only have a suboptimal strategies and campaigns but lets be honest, it’s impossible to measure the effectiveness of something if the objectives have not been defined.

And by objectives, we don’t mean “drive engagement on Facebook”. At We Are Social, we believe that great ideas that come from social insight, that truly leverage social behaviours and social technology have the power to deliver real business results – we call this social thinking. And we always aim for one or more of a range of communication, behavioral, attitudinal or business effects. Simply put, we should be aiming to shift behaviour on or offline.

So, with clear business objectives in mind the next step is to identify the most appropriate measurement methodologies available. The key here is to not be limited by social and digital measurement.

The IPA recently published a very complete guide called the “Expert guide to measuring not counting” which details the wide range of marketing measurement approaches, ranging from measuring digital attribution to closed-loop ROI measurement. We’re not going to go into this level of detail in this article but we very much see eye to eye to the approaches laid out that document and recommend it to any measurement practitioner.

Our agency approach has been to identify the most robust measurement methodologies and categorise them into three areas; Social Analytics, Brand Health and Commercial Impact. Social Analytics includes measurement such as content reach and frequency, Brand Health includes methodologies such as campaign brand effect and Commercial Impact covers areas such as attribution modeling or closed-loop ROI analysis.

We’ve then linked different measurement methodologies with different objectives to help all our teams understand which measurement is most appropriate. So for example, content reach and frequency might be a proxy for a series of communication objectives whereas brand equity trackers might be best used to measure shifts in consumer attitudes.

It’s important to highlight that we’re not necessarily trying to reinvent the wheel. A large number of these measurement approaches are relatively well established effectiveness measurement tools adapted to the social or digital context. For example, a Facebook Campaign Brand Effect study that we might run in partnership with Nielsen is essentially the tried and tested test/control brand survey methodology.

Having said this there is still room for innovation in measurement approaches. For example, we’ve been running what we call Community Brand Effect measurement for a number of clients. This uses a test/control brand survey methodology targeting (via paid media) both followers and non-followers of a brand’s social media community, to measure and compare shifts in brand attitudinal statements and affinities. An early prototype of that methodology was shared in the August 2013 AdMap and was used to place a value of a fan of Bulmers on Facebook.

For another client, we developed a proprietary way of measuring social conversation associated with their brand objectives, incorporating both text and the use of specific emojis.

With clear objectives and having identified the most appropriate measurement approach we built this into a robust measurement framework – mapping out KPIs, Metrics, Targets, Reporting formats and feedback loops. This forms an integral part of the strategy we develop for our clients and isn’t simply a single line of “reporting” added to a client’s retainer budget.

A few examples:

We were tasked with driving meaningful interest in the new Jaguar XE from social. We needed to provide Jaguar with the details of those interested in the car, and crucially, we needed to ensure these people were in the market to buy one. Our objective was therefore volume of qualified leads and we set KPIs around cost per lead vs. historical email campaigns.

We set-up a Facebook ad campaign using Partner Category targeting to ensure quality. Facebook’s partners include Acxiom and Datalogic; they aggregate consumer data and allow us to target groups of people based on online and offline spending habits, household income and attitudes.

Working with Jaguar and Facebook we ensured that all ads were tagged and tracked correctly to measure volume of social referrals. This enabled us to compare this social campaign with previous campaigns run at Jaguar.

The results set a precedent for the industry and the campaign has been featured as one of Facebook’s ‘success stories’. Key highlights were a 2.1x uplift in lead volume during the campaign and over 70% lower cost per lead compared to email campaigns.

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While not necessarily groundbreaking measurement innovation, it shows the impact of having clear objectives and sound measurement. Reporting on 70% lower cost per lead vs. X or Y engagement rate certainly speaks more clearly to C-level executives.

For another client, we worked on more robust Instagram measurement. We had beta access to Instagram’s Analytics suite and we worked with a partner measurement agency to run Campaign Brand Effect studies.

For a set period of time in-app brand surveys were shown to matching panels of people that had and had not been exposed to the brand’s image ads. This enabled us to track shifts in brand recall and brand attributes – such as 14pp increase in ad recall and 2pp increase in purchase intent.

While those metrics alone helped us better measure the effectiveness of our activity we then compared each image’s brand metric results with data from Instagram Analytics. Top line findings showed that the standard engagement rate did not necessarily correlate with the brand objectives. Instead, dwell time (only available in Instagram Analytics) was a much better proxy for brand impact. Therefore, until new results come in we’ll be looking to optimise our content along these deeper metrics instead of Engagement rate.

And finally, for one of Barilla’s brands in Italy we’ve been measuring all major campaigns not only via Campaign Brand Effect studies but also via Nielsen’s shopper panel to measure trends in in-store purchase after being exposed to our social campaign.

When considering these more robust measurement methodologies there’s often the comment about cost. Yes, outside of a major media deal with a social media platform measurement products like Campaign Brand Effect, Closed Loop ROI or mix media modeling requires investment.

But then again, if we’re to hold social thinking to the same standards as other marketing approaches we mustn’t see this as a barrier. From what we’re seeing, applying social thinking to communications problems achieves tangible business results – and robust measurement frameworks help prove this.