Connected data, transparency & real world marketing

| 13 Aug, 2015

Digital Journeys 2015 took place in Brighton and welcomed digital marketing experts accross a range of disciplines to inform and challenge our perceptions of customer journeys today. 

Joel Windels, Brandwatch's VP of Inbound Marketing, presented second on "Connected data, transparency & the real world" and how it is changing what it means to be a marketer.

"Thank you. It's a really incredible event, actually. I haven't been before, and I'm super impressed. But the scary part about speaking at a really good event is you have to follow Google. So I'm sorry, but it's downhill from here!

So Digital Journeys: I've identified four real trends that I think that lots of the other talks today in context and are things that have been happening for many years but are things that will continue to happen. And the point of the talk, really, is that standing still and doing best practice isn't actually enough.

You do have to innovate. You do have to keep up with the trends happening in digital, just to stay up to speed.

When I showed my mum this picture (of people all staring at their phones), she was like, "Isn't it sad that people don't really talk to each other anymore, and we're all lost in our phones." But of course, we are. We're communicating more than ever. In one tweet, not mine, someone sort of influential, can speak to thousands and thousands of people in a second from their phone.

People in the 18th century wouldn't speak or see thousands of people in their entire lifetime. So actually, the proliferation of devices and mobile and technology is actually meaning that we're more communicative and more connected than ever before.

The future of information and  communication – wearable connected devices

Connected devices, wearables

And of course, this is the creepiest family picture of all time. But this is what your families are going to be like in 10 years. You do know that. Just get ready for it. And you won't be walking through Brighton seeing people go like this, not talking to each other but ain't looking at their phone. You'll be seeing people sort of looking off into the middle distance, rambling and muttering to themselves because they're talking to people online. So nothing will change in Brighton, but it might change elsewhere.

Search in 1995

This is what the web was like in 1995, right? It's kind of amazing to think this.

Search in 1995

In order to get people to come to your website, you sent an email to Yahoo to say, "Can you please list it on your homepage?" And they did. Imagine that.!

The only way of tracking this stuff was the little Simpsons numbers in the corner showing how many people have been to this site, and that was pretty much the only analytics and information you had.

There was no connected points. I was one bit of information visiting that page at school, whereas now, you go onto your Google account and you see an almost-creepy amount of information. It knows how many searches I've done and knows the sites that I'm clicking to as a result, it knows whether I'm on my device, on my computer, or even on my Xbox, it knows what I'm searching for, as a unified data set.

I think this is really powerful, and the idea that we are connected experiences, technically human. We exist as an entity on digital, rather than a single set of data points.

Multi-device touchpoints

When iPlayer do an update, they have to test it on over a thousand devices. And if you think about how, when I turn my Xbox on, I expect to go to Netflix within about five seconds and start from the midpoint of the episode that I was watching earlier in the day on my laptop, that's how connected services on the Internet is making things happen.

Integrated tech for better user experience – the Uber example

This one exemplifies it most. So when you order an Uber,

  • it uses Google Maps (they're not going to build their own maps product)
  • you can decide which route you want it to go,
  • and you can play music in the car using Spotify

This is really indicative of how the edges of apps and services are becoming more blurred. These just exist on millions of devices and millions of services and inside each other, and drawing the boundaries is ever more difficult.

Interactive connectivity – the Clash of Clans example

I've never played it. But this, again, the instant conclusion might be to say, "Oh, isn't it sad that people are glued to their phones, not talking to each other."

But this is one of the most connected things you can do. This relies on

  • sharing
  • engaging with other users
  • socially posting to Facebook

And essentially spamming your friends. But it really is actually quite a social experience. And this isn't to be ignored.

This has generated more revenue than every Hollywood film ever. And if you think Hollywood films are a one-way medium, you just look at the screen.

This is a much more connected experience and having a bigger impact upon society.

Making use of your data 

It’s not just devices that are increasingly connected, but our online profiles and personas are connected in ways that we never really thought would happen. And Google are driving lots of that, the idea that you exist across multiple activities, places, and behaviours.


Clash of Clans data

The manifestation of this is data, increasingly massive, massive mountain of data. And it can be overwhelming to marketers to know exactly what the hell to do with it. But of course, if you think about when Sega released Sonic . . . I think that was my first game . . . Sega had no idea. They might know how many units they sold, but they had no idea if I'm playing it, how long I'm playing it for, who I am.

Now, someone like Clash of Clans, which I think is Supercell, can quite happily understand that 5% of their customers generate 95% of their revenue. 

They know how long they play it for, even what they're doing when they're not playing it. This level of data actually makes businesses far more efficient and able to do things that business weren't able to do just a decade ago.


Look at this data from Brandwatch - our social intelligence tool, meaning we listen to data and conversations that happen online and analyse them. This here is people talking about HIV.

What did pharmacuitical companies think mattered most to people when selecting treatment?

Perception - people want to live as long as possible

Reality from data- not wanting to pass it on to loved ones

How powerful a message is that, that actually pharmaceutical companies have got it wrong? And focusing on drugs that are going to change the world in ways that matter most to people. And that's


They wanted to know what ASOS's biggest fans were doing when they weren't talking about ASOS, so as a kind of cross-Internet experience.

Perception – UK and markets were the same

Reality from data- UK fans didn’t get up until 11am (because they are students) / US got up much earlier and were more active

Now knowing they have a completely different demographic in each market means the way and time they get messages to their customers is now completely different.

What’s next for Digital Journeys?

You can search a word, and every picture I've ever taken of a car, if I search the word "car," it will show me. That's kind of magical levels of technology. And it won't have to show me pictures of cars. It shows me pictures of my girlfriend sitting in a car. How does it know? And obviously, it's got some rough edges that had some problems recently, but generally, this is the seed of something quite amazing.

And actually, it reminds me of this Arthur C. Clarke quote, which is, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Cross-data analysis

Question conventional wisdom, like the idea that people buy more ice creams when it's sunny and hot.

Now, this kind of thinking is informed media spend, is informed messaging, is informed shop locations, and basically, everything ice cream brands do for about 100 years now.

We worked with one particularly massive ice cream brand and they've had sales data available for a while. They tried to play around with just weather data and sales data and couldn't really find too much meaning in it.

When they started plugging in other data sets, things like people saying they were eating ice cream and uploading pictures of eating ice cream, they actually found it wasn't sunny hot days. It was relatively warm days, but it was raining on like a Sunday. And people turned to this brand of ice cream to eat a tub to sort of complain that they're not outdoors and why they're so fat and their lives are going terrible on a Sunday night.

But generally, this changed how the brand started marketing their product and where they started marketing their product and when. And that's the powerful thing about connected data sources.

Word of caution

But of course, correlation isn't always causation. I don't believe the amount of mozzarella being eaten has any impact upon the number of engineering doctorates awarded.

It's sad that sometimes correlation isn't causation because you get data sets like this, which is the number of people who drowned by falling into a pool tightly correlate with Nicholas Cage appearing in films. Which is all the evidence I think we need to get Nick Cage to stop appearing in films!


Correlation data misleading?

Transparency’s effect on brands

When you go out to a restaurant you look up reviews now, especially if you're in a city you've never been to before.

If your restaurant has too many crappy reviews, no one will ever go there again. And this is democratising society. You can no longer just marketing your way to success. Businesses that do a good job of treating customers right float to the top so us consumers are getting a better quality service.

The same goes for sites like Money Saving Expert. So people don't call up Aon and EDF and Empower to say, "What's the best offer?" They go and talk to their peers meaning it’s appropriate for community managers and customer service reps to use Twitter or Facebook page, creating an account to engage with people asking questions and seeking advice in the place that they actually go to in the first place.


The last thing is place. So again, the same Google account. I didn't ask it to, but it showed me my walk to work. It's not very far. And actually, you can see me taking very mildly different routes to break up the humdrum monotony of my boring life, just to change things up. But this is cool, the idea that it knows where I live, knows where I work. And imagine serving me ads when it knows I'm going to the gym, for example, which is never. But if I did or if I'm going to KFC, and serving me ads based on where I am . . .

Peroni – brand perception

Peroni listened to what people in Brighton thought of their brand. It's a premium, nice lager here. In London, they think it's just like a rubbish one. They've got all these lovely breweries and ales. So the way that they marketed their billboard campaigns in London was very different to how they did it in Brighton, and that's purely as a result of understanding local tastes.

British Airways use customer intelligence too, they have Brandwatch in their headquarters in their lobby. Imagine walking past this every single day, whether you're the CEO or a baggage handler, and seeing what people have to say about your brand online and listening to what customers say and using that to inform how you work. 

Argos – regional culture

Argos map their physical stores to where people are talking about Argos. And that allowed them to discover that people in the north, for example, wanted a more friendly experience. So they changed their hiring processes in the north to make sure that friendliness and chattiness was the first thing they looked for in new hires.

In other parts of the country, they found that people were annoyed there wasn't enough seats while they were waiting for their hi-fi or whatever. And in London, people just wanted to get in and out as quickly as they possibly could, and that meant that they changed their staffing processes in London.


Connected Transparent Physical - the future of digital marketing

You can change your experience, change your product offering as a result of the real world is another really positive and powerful change.

…that was me, and hopefully, that provides some context to the rest of the talks you'll see today. Now you know. Thank you."

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