The Value of Measuring an Active Engager vs. Passive Observer

All brands are looking to spark social engagement. But inspiring consumers to comment or share your brand with their network takes thoughtful planning. Meaningful audience engagement goes beyond a simple “like,” so you need to know what content gets people talking. 

Social Media Analytics Across Channels

Measuring impressions, video views, and likes are too passive when you want to understand how well your content has connected with an audience. Afterall, you could trigger an impression or a video view simply because it’s served to your newsfeed. Many people “like” so thoughtlessly when they’re scrolling that one million “likes” doesn’t mean one million people are truly interested in your brand.

If getting consumers to comment, share and reply to your content is what you are aiming at, you need a way to measure those types of social engagements across all major social channels. When a person shares your post on Facebook or comments on Twitter, you know that person saw something about your brand and was motivated to take action. It means that person stopped scrolling to talk about your content or share it with their friends or followers. That’s something!

Introducing Social Talkability

At ListenFirst, we unite billions of social signals across every social platform. Using our unique access to this data we’ve introduced a new way to measure meaningful engagements — in one comprehensive score. Social Talkability, is our new proprietary metric that provides brands with the number of social actions that are deemed intentful. 

Your “Talkability” score counts comments, shares and replies across all major social channels, along with user-generated content. It compiles data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit and TikTok.

The Social Talkability score helps brands see the full picture. 
See how cross-channel social engagements took off for Netflix and Apple during pivotal campaigns.


Bridgerton premiered on Netflix on Dec. 25, 2020. That day Bridgerton got 13,385 “likes” per Instagram post. That’s almost 1,000 less “likes” than they got per post the day before. But when looking across social channels and counting the more active engagements, Netflix can see the show did get audiences buzzing on premiere day. Social Talkability was lifted 787% from Dec. 24 to Dec. 25.
April 20, 2021 was a big day for Apple as they introduced new products and updates to the market. However, they only averaged 64,032 reactions per social media post on that day. (Between January 1- April 19, 2021, Apple averaged 134,790 reactions per post.) When looking at the Social Talkability metric, Apple can see that there was, in fact, a lift in comments, shares and replies across channels, despite the drop in reactions in general. Talkability was up 213% on April 20, compared to April 19.

Get Your Social Talkability Score Today

ListenFirst customers can access this metric today in the Brand Rankings tab and in the Time Window Comparison report. 

If you are not yet a ListenFirst user, contact the ListenFirst team to request a demo.

7 Ways Brands Most Successfully Celebrated Star Wars Day 

When marketers think about planning seasonal campaigns, usually holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas come to mind. While those should be a focus, on social media there’s also a great amount of opportunity around less formal holidays that are more playful in tone, and often build around intellectual property. May The Fourth, or the Star Wars pun that launched a thousand brand posts, is an excellent example of this type of event. 

44 years after the first movie came out, fan interest in talking about the franchise has only grown and participating in Star Wars Day is an effective way to make your own brand more top-of-mind.  Here are brand strategies that were most successful on social media around Star Wars Day this year.

#1. Leverage Library Content 

The Big Bang Theory received 30,104 responses on Facebook for a clip of the group trying unsuccessfully to explain the May The Fourth holiday to Penny while The Simpsons got 25,552 responses to an Instagram post showing Ralph Wiggum dressing up as Princess Leia for Inspirational Women Day. If you’re a media brand and have Star Wars related content in the vault, May Fourth is definitely the day to dust it off. 

#2. Lead With A Creative Visual 

Compelling visuals are never a bad idea, but considering how much of Star Wars is communicated visually, many brands were able to stand out with their May The Fourth content without having to say too much. For example, WWE had 163,869 responses to an Instagram gallery where they edited lightsabers into photos of their wrestlers fighting, Jimmy Kimmel Live received 34,550 responses to an Instagram picture of Yoda and Leia cosplay, and John Deer got 16,737 responses to Instagram concept art showing what the John Deere version of a Tauntaun would look like.  

#3. Force A Force Joke 

Dating back at least to Mel Brooks proclaiming “May the Schwartz be with you!” in Spaceballs, jokes about “The Force” have been ubiquitous, and Star Wars Day isn’t the context you’d expect restraint. The Muppets had the best performing Force related social media post, getting 33,396 responses on Facebook, with Kermit and Miss Piggy in Star Wars outfits, wishing “May the Farce be with you.” Additionally, Callaway Golf’s Force video post scored 12,212 responses on Instagram, sharing a trick shot and showing that anything that defies explanation can be re-contextualized as a Jedi trick. 

The rest of Force related posts that got engagement followed a fairly rigid formula. Accenture got 4,010 responses to an Instagram post showing an Accenture hat with Yoda ears with the explanation “the force is strong with this one” while Avid got 3,366 responses to an Instagram video showing Baby Yoda using The Force to edit on a soundboard. Meanwhile, Shake Shack got 3,179 responses to an Instagram photo of their fries levitating with the caption “The force is strong with this one.” with Buffalo Wild Wings receiving 3,052 responses to a Tweet about their wings explaining that “the sauce is strong with this one”.

#4. Promote The Merchandise 

When the first Star Wars movie came out, the only merchandise you could buy around the film were action figures, with Kenner only having to pay $100,000 for the toy making rights. The marketing empire around the franchise has scaled considerably since then. 

In a crowded field, Lego had the most successful merchandise related post on Star Wars Day, getting 151,928 responses on Instagram for photos of a set featuring The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Other merchandise focused posts that performed well included Build-A-Bear getting 4,536 responses to a post showing a Baby Yoda plushy in cap and gown as a suggested graduation gift, and Williams-Sonoma receiving 4,465 responses to an Instagram Gallery showing off their Star Wars collection, such as a Millennium Falcon waffle. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble got 3,640 responses to an Instagram post sharing a pile of Star Wars related books. 

#5. Run A Contest 

Bribing the audience is a marketing strategy as old as Yoda. GameStop had 43,708 responses on an Instagram post offering a chance to win a Star War prize pack in exchange for leaving Likes and Comments.  

#6. Say You’re Making a Star Wars Meme Without Saying It 

Slim Jim got 51,037 responses to an Instagram post explaining that they’re not going to “force” a lame ass May Fourth meme because they’re “rebels”. For brands with a more irrelevant tone, there’s enough saturation around brand posts around Star Wars Day and other social media holidays that playfully announcing you won’t be participating is an effective way to stand out. 

#7. Curate Content From Others 

E! News got 32,631 responses to a Regram of Billie Lourd showing her infant son in a Princess Leia onesie watching his late grandmother in Star Wars. While you’re going to have to compensate the content creator if the repost isn’t being used in a news context, around holidays there are going to be unique takes that are poignant and emotional that can’t come from the voice of a brand. Sometimes amplifying the voices of others on your social channels makes more sense.   

Want more advice around planning holiday related campaigns? Either stream our webinar about Competitive Information to Plan Seasonal Campaigns or request a ListenFirst demo today

6 Brand Takeaways From April Fools’ Day Pranks This Year 

There are very few days of the year that are seen as showcases for brand messaging, and while Super Bowl Sunday is the most prominent example, April Fools’ Day is another rare instance when the internet is actually looking forward to hearing what brands have to say. So which brand pranks this year earned a laugh and which earned a groan from the social media audience? Based on what ListenFirst’s data analytics unearthed during the 2021 go around, here are the Top 6 insights for brands around April Fools’ Day.     

Insight #1. If Nothing Else, A Name Change Prank Will Be Talked About 

The most high profile brand prank of 2021, was Volkswagen claiming on March 29 it was changing its name to Voltswagen, a full three days before the April 1 holiday. The gun jumping decision was widely panned, after VW stock initially rose around the name change which could lead to a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into manipulating stock with false statements. However, in terms of generating social media interes the bait and switch did have some level of success. Volkswagen earned 3,483 New Followers on Twitter between March 29 – April 1, up from 104 new Twitter followers between March 25 – 28, 2021. Meanwhile in the same time period, there were 37.1K page views of the Volkswagen Wikipedia page, an increase of 480%. While Volkswagen would take back the prank if they could, there appears to be value in a name changing joke, provided it’s actually made on April 1 and not earlier. 

Insight #2. Make Jokes That Only Make Sense For Your Brand 

Tiffany & Co. gained 17,983 New Fans on social media on April 1 around changing their signature Tiffany Blue color to yellow, while Paddington Bear generated 15.2K Likes on Twitter saying he doesn’t like marmalade anymore. These jokes are extremely simple but effective because they play off the audience’s existing knowledge of a strong brand identity.  

Insight #3. Offer Products That Actually Would Be A Good Idea 

Lego gained a whopping 105,776 New Fans as they talked up SmartBricks, which are Legos that move out of the way when you’re about to step on them. Duolingo gained 1,850 New Fans on April 1, which was an increase of 1,401 New Fans from the previous day around Duolingo Roll, which is toilet paper that teaches you another language, an idea that definitely would move product, should it ever exist.

@dunkin

Tag a friend who needs this…April Fools!🤪 #dunkin #aprilfools

♬ Trailer (Trailer): Action Movie – Ken Nakagawa

Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts got 24,810 responses for a TikTok video showing an arm attachment bag/cup holder that Ben Affleck totally needs. Even Teletubbies pitching TubbyCoin in a Tweet that got 44,367 responses may seem like an absurd idea, but it’s no stranger than real cryptocurrencies like Cthulhu Offerings and Burger King’s Russia’s Whoppercoin.  Of course people would buy TubbyCoin.  

Insight #4. Make A Clear Connection In Product Mashups 

Outback Steakhouse lost -155 social media fans on a day they shared their LipSteak lipstick pitch while Green Giant gained only 15 New Fans on April 1, around their Cauliflower flavored Peeps bunnies joke. It wasn’t overly clear what the connection between lipstick and steak was and when Green Giant has green in the title and Peeps is normally yellow, it seemed strange that they’re talking about white colored cauliflower. 

On the flip side of that, Durex gained 2,141 New Fans on the day they posted about a Smart Condom, that counts every thrust. As sex is a form of exercise, a Fitbit joke made sense to their audience. April Fools’ Pranks by brands where two things unexpectedly make sense together are a lot more effective than pranks where two different products make absolutely no sense together.  

Insight #5. Don’t Be Randomly Gross 

It wasn’t a great year for brands that decided to share disgusting versions of their products. For example while Bud Light gained 967 New Fans on the day they shared pizza flavored Bud Light Seltzer that was actually -681  from how many new fans they generated during the previous day. Meanwhile Gatorade had a net loss of  -433 Fans on the day they shared the new Swamp Punch flavor, Velveeta only gained 74 new Fans on the day they shared a post talking about a new Velveeta skincare product, and Heinz Ketchup had a grand total of 4 New social media fans on the day they shared Cravy, which is a ketchup/Ocean Spray cranberry mashup flavor, 

Insight #6. QA Test Your Prank With People Outside Your Social Media Team 

On April 1, Subway lost -335 net Fans on social media around an April Fools’ Day Tweet that said “we finally did it”. While they quickly clarified that they were just joking, it was less clear what Subway was joking about. It was possibly a reference to a March 31 Tweet saying “we do this together. #RestoreTheSnyderverse” but it’s still not clear what the joke is and the audience can’t be expected to put in that much research trying to figure it out. Just like a standup comedian would never go on television and tell jokes that haven’t already been tested in front of a nightclub audience, social media teams need third party feedback to make sure their prank will actually land as intended.    

Looking for more best practices insights to help inform your brand’s social media strategy? Request a ListenFirst demo today! 

The Super Bowl and Social: A Guide To Campaign Success

How can my brand see the most social media success around our Big Game related campaign?

For marketers the many ways to share content on social media is exciting, but for many brands the Super Bowl is the centerpiece of their marketing efforts for the year, and it’s not the time you want to experiment with endless possibilities. Companies want to know exactly what social media strategies work on which social networks, to make sure they get the big increase in awareness around their messaging.

The Economics of Influencers: A Guide To Measuring Partnerships

How can you measure influencer success?

Studies have repeatedly shown that advertisers can expect a much higher return on investment from their influencer marketing efforts than from any other form of advertising. However, measuring success is a problem.

This guide will help you understand the economics behind influencer partnerships.

What Short Form Video Platform Should Your Brand Be Using?

Without delving too deeply into the still unclear fate of TikTok, whether the platform is going to be banned in the United States or spun off into a seperate company; the short form video platform faces competition. In August 2020, Instagram launched its own mobile phone short video solution Reels, while YouTube is currently beta testing its own TikTok competitor Shorts in India. Other short form video competitors include Triller, Byte, and Dubsmash.

For marketers, trying to navigate the rapidly changing short form video ecosystem can feel daunting, so with that in mind we put together this quick overview of everything you need to know about short form mobile videos on social media. Download the full cheat sheet here.

What Marketers Need To Know About Instagram Reels

Launched in August 2020, Instagram Reels was released in the same week President Trump was threatening to ban TikTok in the United States, and while the timing to release a TikTok clone was perfect, the reviews generally weren’t positive. For instance, one New York Times writer labeled Reels “the worst feature I’ve ever used”, citing how complicated it is to find within the Instagram app, how there were too many restrictions around music, inferior editing functions, and the lack of duets. Instagram has since improved the editing functionality as well as extended video length from 15 seconds to 30 seconds, but at this point Reels is most valuable to brands as a channel to repost their TikTok videos. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDuMMQfDOB7/

For example, a video promoting DC FanDome featuring Margot Robbie got 57.6K Likes on TikTok while when the same video was shared on Instagram Reels, complete with a TikTok watermark in places, it generated 251K Likes. 

Regardless if Reels specifically works as an application, reposting content to Instagram is always going to be an effective way to increase engagement. 

What Marketers Need To Know About TikTok 

For tactical advice on posting on TikTok, ListenFirst has previously shared a best practices guide for brands, but the big picture point for marketers to keep in mind is that TikTok has 100 million active users in the United States each month. For brands worried that TikTok might get banned in the U.S. or radically change under new ownership, TikTok has too big of an audience to ignore. 

If you’re interested in reaching the audience of short form video and worried about what comes next, your best bet is expanding the amount of social platforms you’re leveraging, as opposed to abandoning TikTok. 

@charlidamelio

Join the #MoreHappyDenimDance and #hcocontest to win a virtual meet & greet with me and Dixie!! hcopartner. Official rules: https://bit.ly/37ZFQih

♬ More Happy – The Hollister Jean Lab

Hollister Co. is a great example of this strategy. They have been working with Charli D’Amelio, a 16-year-old dancer and social media influencer who has 88.8 million followers on TikTok, on a jeans campaign. A sponsored TikTok video showing D’Amelio sharing her #MoreHappyDenimDance generated 59.8 million views and generated numerous response videos. Meanwhile Hollister Co. experimented with posting an Instagram Reel featuring D’Amelio promoting their Tiny Jeans campaign that received 757K views. While the campaign didn’t extend to Triller, it certainly could have, as D’Amelio has 3.4 followers on Triller.

   

TikTok may be the biggest player around short form video, but there’s enough volume around other platforms that TikTok-based campaigns can be expanded to other short form video apps. 

What Marketers Need To Know About YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is expected to arrive in America some time in the near future. Similar to Instagram Reels, it’s essentially a new feature to shoot and edit short videos directly from a preexisting mobile app, with YouTube capping the video run time at 15 seconds. It’s too soon to know to what extent Shorts will take off, but it does have a couple of key advantages over other TikTok clones. Being able to sample popular songs for audio clips is a huge part of how users create short form video and YouTube already has licensing agreements in place with major record companies, meaning there should be a large library of songs to use in Shorts videos. 

YouTube also has the advantage of being YouTube, meaning creators are already making original content there, and getting influencers to create 15-second content on YouTube should be an easier ask than asking them to create content for a brand new mobile app. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Triller

If TikTok was actually going to get banned in America, Triller is the short form video app that would be in the best position today to replace it. Created in 2015, it actually predates TikTok; Triller has 27 million active daily users and actually overtook TikTok in terms of App Store downloads in August around fears TikTok will disappear. Triller has two major categories of content, “Music” and “Social”, but Music is really its bread and butter. The app, which has signed deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music, allows users to create music videos through their unique auto-editing algorithm, matching self-filmed cell phone video with snippets of popular songs, usually in the rap genre. 

That formula has become a significant marketing tool for the music industry, for instance a snippet of Money Mouf by Tyga, Saweetie, and YG has received 15.6 million views on Triller with Unbelievable by Tiger Schroff getting 7.2 millions views. Regardless of what happens with TikTok, Triller has emerged as a powerful marketing tool for the music industry. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Byte

Created by Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman, Byte is essentially Vine 2.0; bringing back the 6-second long looping video format (which they’re currently experimenting with extending to 8 seconds). Launched in January 2020, pretty much everything is in flux with the app; for instance some features are on iOS but not Android; you can’t create sounds from popular music yet, and there’s no full screen video yet. Byte needs to be a little bit more built out for marketers to be able to evaluate it. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Dubsmash

Created way back in 2014, initially peaking in popularity in 2015 and seeing a resurgence in 2020; Dubsmash allows users to lip sync over audio clips including sections of songs, movies, and famous quotes. Focusing more on building community, inclusion of people underrepresented on social media and improving retention rate; Dubsmash is having the most success around dance challenge videos and comedy videos. For example, the hashtag #DubSmashChallenge has received 4.7 million views on Dubsmash, while the hashtag #Comedy received 9 million views. 

However, the largest reason Dubsmash’s profile is being raised is fears of TikTok disappearing. Sensor Tower reported that during the last week of June, Dubsmash worldwide weekly downloads increased by 235% to 511,000 compared to the previous week.  

Want more social media insights around video platforms? Request a demo with ListenFirst today!