July 2013





separates solid strategy from idle guesses, continually strengthening programs with insights into what works and what doesn’t. But even with a wealth of information, it can be easy to miss the big story in the data. In this month’s feature story, we examine commonly misunderstood metrics, as well as overlooked gems. We also hear from Connectors on the most interesting ways they’ve measured success in a social media campaign. All this, plus our guide to publishing after a tragedy, a new PNConnect case study, and much more.

Cover photo: Notes from the first annual PNConnect Global Summit.

Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

  What’s Trending

Twitter Faces Boycott Over Allowing Free Speech
“There’s always a tension between insisting on allowing, even supporting, free speech and the fact that some people exercising it will annoy other customers. Twitter’s always been pretty open about its attitude: As long as what you say is within the law then go ahead and say it on Twitter. This isn’t good enough for some over here in the UK and there’s a boycott of the service being organised over it.”
Source: Forbes

First Tumblr, then Facebook, and now Twitter have landed in hot water over inappropriate content. But what Twitter does is only half of the issue. The other concern is how brands react. As we saw in the fallout over ads on offensive Facebook content in June, backlash against brands is a very real possibility, even when the association with inappropriate content is inadvertent. For brands with particularly sensitive audiences, it’s smart to choose the channels and context for your ads very carefully.

Global Trend

Platform Shift in South Korea
“Mobile phone use in South Korea has become so ubiquitous that it overtook desktop as the primary method for accessing social media last year. As a result, mobile social networks and mobile messaging apps are as popular as traditional social networks like Facebook.”
Source: The Global Social Network Landscape (PDF Report)

According to the Korea Internet & Security Agency Online, South Koreans generally prefer blogs and communities much more than traditional profile-based social networks, like Facebook. So this data is really about the type of content and desired interaction, and less about the enabling technology. This is a consistent theme across much of the world.

Active Users: 1,110,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 163,000,000

Users: 554,700,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 93,700,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 200,000,000

Users: 200,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 62,950,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 179,100,000

Users: 130,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 23,760,000

Blogs: 124,800,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 61,680,200
Monthly Global Visitors: 185,450,000

Users: 48,700,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 60,600,000

Users: 15,400,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 4,120,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 51,600,000

Users: 218,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 45,000,000

Users: 148,000,000
Monthly Unique Users: 36,200,000

Users: 25,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 1,200,000

Users: 184,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 57,000,000

Users: 503,000,000
Daily Active Users: 46,300,000

Users: 602,700,000
Daily Active Users: 101,500,000

Users: 27,100,000
Monthly Visitors: 15,000,000

Hilary Mason


“When you start at bitly, you go through this emotional cycle, where first you go, ‘Oh my God, this data is amazing.’ But then you start looking at it and you conclude that humanity is completely doomed. Because what people read is cats and Bieber and celebrity gossip and that stuff. You eventually come out the other side and you realize that there’s a huge amount of potential here. It’s the realization that yes, this is what humanity does, that’s the way people are. And it’s more like thinking of the data as a great theater in front of you where you get to have a really great seat to observe what’s going on in the world.”

 – bitly Chief Scientist and PNConnect Global Summit guest speaker Hilary Mason, in a an interview with SmartPlanet.

Advertising Trends


Captain Morgan Targets Foursquare Check-Ins

“Foursquare has started rolling out post check-in ads – ads served to users immediately after they check in at certain locations – and Captain Morgan is one of the first brands on board.”
Source: AdAge

Engagement among Foursquare users is steady, and there are ripe opportunities for brands to reach people at the moment of purchase and move them quickly from intent to purchase to buying a product. The price point at a pay-per-click basis is right for testing the platform. We believe there is good promise for brands to very specifically target consumers.

Pinterest Gathers Wealth of User Data

“It marks the first time the network has put the massive amount of information it has at its fingertips about users’ web activity – made possible by the ubiquity of the ‘Pin It’ button – to use. While the current implications of that data collection are limited to content relevancy, it’s not hard to see what it could mean for the company’s ad business – which still doesn’t exist – down the road.”
Source: Ad Age

This could be a potentially valuable retargeting platform for marketers. Pinterest users are highly engaged, and they are far more loyal to the brands they follow than users of other platforms like Facebook. When the time comes, the question for brand advertisers is, how do you capture a user’s browsing intent and turn it into conversion through Pinterest?

Publishers Offer More Native Ads

“The study found that 73 percent of OPA members surveyed are offering native advertising with the potential for that number to increase to 90 percent by the end of this year.”
Source: Online Publishers Association

Native advertising is here to stay, and brands are realizing its power to drive engagement. This survey revealed two important points: First, brands must clearly label native content as advertising – there’s no grey line here. Second, the general expectation is native ads will engage consumers and create brand lift, not necessarily drive clickthrough. That requires an entirely different content strategy – one that is in line with the core concept of native advertising. The bottom line is native ad content must be as valuable as organic site content.

Noteworthy News


Flipboard Magazines Come to the Web

“Flipboard’s magazines – a product launched a few months ago that allows users to curate thematic collections of story content from various sources – can be shared across the Web. Stick a link to your magazine into a Web page, and visitors can read your magazine via their desktop browser, a major change from Flipboard’s mobile-only beginnings on iOS and Android.”
Source: All Things D

Not only does this broaden Flipboard’s potential user base of self-publishers and readers, but it adds the core web currency of a shareable link, making the platform a more attractive option for brand publishers.

Chipotle Fakes a Twitter Hack

“The company has come forward and admitted that it faked having its account hacked as part of a publicity stunt tied to its 20th anniversary promotional campaign. ‘We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that,’ Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, told Mashable in an interview.”
Source: Mashable

These stunts generally end the same way: The long-term loss of trust in the brand ends up negating any short-term gain. The point of a brand creating a publishing program is to provide a trusted touchpoint with current and potential customers. A purposely deceptive lark can chop that off at the legs.

Google Highlights In-Depth Articles

“The company wants to make it easier for anyone researching ‘broad’ subjects to find in-depth articles that go deeper than the top hits it typically serves up. Beginning today in the U.S., Google will place these long-form articles and essays in a dedicated ‘in-depth’ results box alongside your main search results.”
Source: The Verge

Google’s new addition illustrates the importance of considering a range of content plays in a brand publishing strategy, as well as the value of taking the long view. In years past, conventional wisdom said all Web content needed to be short and digestible. But in reality, long-form content has always been the right fit for many specific subjects and audiences. Delivering quality content in appropriate, indexable forms yields longterm, sometimes unexpected returns.

PNConnect Summit
PNConnect’s First Global Summit

In July, forty Connectors from around the world came together at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando for four days of intense strategic planning, training, team building, and collaborative discussions. We were honored to host three stellar guest speakers as well: Hilary Mason of bitly, Kristen Taylor of Al Jazeera, and Paull Young of charity:water, who concluded the summit with a focused brainstorming session.

By the time it was all over, we were well into planning our return next summer.

  • The summit brought together representatives from 20 PNConnect offices, across 8 countries.

  • PNConnect case studies line the walls.

  • Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at bitly, discusses the intersection of human behavior and marketing.

  • Connectors enjoy dinner at Citricos.

  • Kristen Taylor, Senior Digital Producer at Al Jazeera, shares insights from her class on using narrative strategies online.

  • The PNConnect leadership team welcomes a new honorary Connector.

  • Paull Young shares charity:water’s story.

  • PNConnect Vinylmation Mickeys for our speakers and guests





Misunderstood & Overlooked Metrics

Digital analytics started off as a technology problem: Success meant implementing systems to capture the data you needed from your website, email list, or CRM system. As the industry has evolved, and what was once a six-figure investment has become a free service, the challenge for analytics has shifted from technology to methodology. Nearly everyone has the same data now, thanks to products like Google Analytics and the eagerness of the social networks to give their data away through APIs.

Successful analytics teams are those that know how to tap into the firehose of data to produce insights and metrics that are both actionable and insightful. PNConnect works across multiple industries, platforms, and research methods to help our clients make sense of all the numbers. We’ve found three metrics that, while critical to extracting insight from digital platforms and understanding the real impact of brand programs, are often either misunderstood or overlooked.

Return on Investment

ROI is the most sought-after metric, but it seems to be the least understood. The strict equation for ROI defined by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is the financial gain from an investment divided by its cost shown as a percentage or converted to a dollar return. The definition is more than semantics; it has significant implications on how to get to ROI. It requires buy-in from finance to track spend, research teams to solve for the dollar value of programs, and agencies to measure the metrics feeding into the ROI equation.

Even when a hard sale metric isn’t available or measurable, we can still build a measurement program evaluating results through the lens of financial investment. A federal government client wanted to use paid media to drive visitors to an online hub for healthcare planning information. We evaluated our paid media campaigns on the basis of their financial efficiency to drive traffic to the website’s pages that user testing had found most effective at changing attitudes and behavior. By defining a measurable, digital success metric and evaluating on the basis of cost per on-site action, we delivered more valuable traffic at a lower price.

Social Media Sentiment

A quick look through social media listening tools will typically show tweets like “I want a Big Mac so badly” coded as negative. The way people talk about each brand differs, and the same words often mean different things to different clients. A product being “on fire” can meet a strategic objective for a fashion client but constitute a crisis for a car rental client. Even when analysts correctly assess the linguistics, sentiment measurement rarely ladders up to business objectives, programs or results.

Tying sentiment to programs recently helped PNConnect assess the impact of a client’s mobile app on brand equity. Over the course of a year, we identified users on social media who mentioned using the app and then tracked their mentions of our client’s brand pre- and post-installation compared to general social media users. We found app users doubled their positive mentions of our client after the initial download of the app, while general social media users showed no change over the same time period. The app was not only well received by customers but created online advocates.


What people share (top) vs.
what people search (bottom)

Measuring the Lurkers

Most social media measurement focuses on generating buzz or measuring public actions – liking a Facebook page, tweeting about a brand, or writing a product review – but for some clients these metrics tell only half the story. We’ve found that for clients with less exciting or potentially embarrassing products, particularly in healthcare, consumers “lurk” online, consuming but not contributing content for up to a year before making a purchase decision.

To help build a successful Facebook page for a client that offers an elective surgery, we focused on the lurkers. We paired traditional audience research with trends from organic search data to identify the barriers consumers face when considering the surgery. Our content strategy centered on addressing these barriers to help the lurkers overcome them, and the measurement captured “silent actions” such as clicks on content as well as what the audience did on the website. Through this content and measurement approach, we improved engagement with the Facebook page’s content 73% from the starting benchmark.

Kristen Taylor

 PNConnect Global Summit guest speaker Kristen Taylor introduced us to a new community management vocabulary word, which means a person who talks at great length without saying much.

Mark Avera

Each issue, we hear from a digital or social media program leader. This month we talk to Mark Avera, Senior Account Executive and Social Media Manager at Porter Novelli Atlanta.

What role do you play at Porter Novelli?
I’m a social media strategist and program leader in our Atlanta office, and I’m the digital lead and community manager for the HP Graphics Solutions Business. Additionally, I serve as the liaison between our office and digital marketing experts across the Porter Novelli network.

What developments on the Web are you most excited about right now?
The steadily increasing rate of social media adoption in the B2B space. For years now, we’ve seen early adopters in more traditional markets, such as the commercial printing industry, dabbling in the social web. But over the past 18-24 months, participation has picked up, and more recently we’ve seen that adoption accelerating even faster. These audiences are also maturing in their use, from their levels of engagement and platform use to their content creation and experimentation.

What one thing would you change about the digital landscape today?
Streamlined regulations that move at the speed of the digital age. For example, chatter rippled through the digital marketing world when the FTC announced updated social media disclosure guidelines in March. While I certainly agree with the spirit of the guidelines and believe that additional clarity is not only helpful but necessary, they fall short of recognizing today’s changing media landscape. Some level of uncertainty will remain as our industry continues to evolve, new platforms emerge, and the lines between media entity and interested consumer continue to blur, but this will fade as once-new ad formats and digital marketing tactics mature.

What are the toughest challenges you and your clients are facing?
Internal skepticism around social media, especially from stakeholders who play a role in the program as experts. When looking at a client evangelist program, we are careful to engage authentically to avoid customer and prospect skepticism. But not all subject matter experts are digital natives, and not all technical spokespeople are social media savvy. Their own belief that they cannot connect to customers authentically via a digital channel can become a self-inflicted challenge. Fortunately, it’s an opportunity to grow the team, and it has been one of my most fulfilling exercises with clients. When a new creative solution demonstrates that authentic, two-way, beneficial connections can be forged online, you get to see an exciting transformation in your own team that is incredibly rewarding.

What’s one thing you’re seeing differently now compared to a year ago?
Improved metrics. Virtually all of my clients’ primary social media platforms have seen upgrades to their analytics, and we’ve implemented more robust measurement across the board. This has helped elevate conversations about social media’s ROI with key stakeholders in startups and enterprises alike.

Case Study

PN Case Study

Championing the Next Generation

With an eye toward the future, Adobe has made a commitment to encouraging students’ passion for design while forging lifelong relationships. To support India’s burgeoning design student community, Adobe India wanted to build a dedicated Facebook page that would act as a hub for sharing, learning, and showcasing work. They tapped the PNConnect team to help hatch a thriving online community.

As a first step, the team completed an audit of the forums, groups, and sites design students in India were already visiting. Based on what students were saying and doing on these sites, as well as the people they were following, the team developed a content strategy squarely focused on key audience needs. Adobe launched the page with relevant, useful content, promoted through Facebook ads that targeted the key audience precisely and efficiently.

The audit showed that budding designers loved to show off their skills to the community. To meet this need, the team launched “Designers of Tomorrow,” an online competition that offered students a stage and the chance to win Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Certificates.

The competition progressed over three months, with a new theme every month: Rhythm of Rain, Technology & You, and Festivals of India. To reach a wider audience, the team launched a series of Facebook ads and targeted 40 Facebook groups with design-related interests. Offline, posters in five key schools encouraged students to submit their designs.

Over the course of the campaign, the contest received 208 entries, and the Facebook hub gained 70,100 fans. Adobe saw a significant spike in followers across its network, as well as increased student engagement and consideration for Adobe products.

By completing a thorough audit before rolling out the campaign, the team could build a robust strategy tailored to the specific needs and behavior of the target audience, such as design students’ drive to learn and showcase talent to a wider audience. Approaching the contest with a different theme for each month gave participants more opportunities to unleash their imagination and display their inventiveness, boosting overall engagement, and allowed additional opportunities to promote the campaign.

Burning Question

Burning Question

Q. What’s the most interesting or unique way you’ve measured success for a social media campaign?

“A healthcare client wanted to prompt peer-to-peer discussions about their product in social media. After listening to existing patient conversations, we built a content strategy for our client’s Facebook page to address the top barriers patients face to electing our client’s product. To gauge success, we measured the increase in questions asked by pre-purchase patients as well as the number of responses from other community members.”
– James O’Malley, New York
“A screenshot. A client was having a hard time communicating the ROI on a blogging program internally. I ran their brand site metatags through a search engine results page ranking tool and found a few that didn’t rank on the first page. Fortunately, our blog ranked #2 in Google for one of those terms. I took a screenshot of that, and the client invested further in the campaign.”
– Chad Hyett, New York

“In one case, we were promoting a particular product that was only available at a couple of retail stores. We stayed in direct contact with those stores and were able to identify the cascading stream of foot traffic as it went from one store to the next, based on our social media promotion of those places.”
– Josh Hallett, Winter Haven

Each month we select a client’s “Burning Question” and solicit answers from other clients and our senior staff. Something on your mind? Drop us a line at and tell us about it. 



Publishing After a Tragedy

In the wake of a major tragedy – whether it’s a natural disaster, an accident, or an act of terrorism – brand managers face difficult choices: Do we keep publishing as usual? If we stop, when do we start again? And how should we acknowledge the situation, if at all? Inadvertently striking an insensitive tone, even if it’s only carrying on with business as usual, could spark serious fan blowback. On the other hand, proceeding too cautiously could cost you momentum and community growth. Because every brand and situation is different, there is no single “right” response. But there are a few key points to consider as you’re formulating your approach:

1. Hold Scheduled Posts

If you pre-schedule social content, immediately postpone or “unschedule” all automated posts when news of a tragedy breaks. Whether or not you ultimately decide to pause your publishing, you don’t want a preplanned post to make the decision for you. Something that was totally benign originally might take on unintended connotations in the context of a tragedy. Take some time to plan your approach and review everything in the queue.

Gap strikes the wrong tone.

Virgin gets it right.

2. Look at Proximity

People are naturally more sensitive to tragedies that hit closer to home. If your followers are far from the site of the tragedy, it might not be necessary to pause publishing. But if you do business in a country directly affected by an event, consider holding posts for a time out of respect, even if your brand has no connection to the tragedy.

3. Take Scale Into Account

All other factors being equal, tragedies that affect a greater number of people are likely to get more news coverage and generate more intense emotions, setting the stage for a backlash against brands who continue publishing. When mass casualties or destruction is involved, it’s wise to take a break out of respect for the victims.

4. Consider Surprise

The more shocking an event, the more likely the public will consider ongoing branding or promotional activity inappropriate. Flooding along the floodplain of a major river or wildfires in areas prone to fire, while devastating, are not wholly unexpected. Nature happens. But an unprecedented disaster, a terrorist attack, or a mass shooting stuns even the most jaded audience. When your followers are reeling, they’re not in the mood for everyday posts.

5. Analyze the News Cycle

Based on the course of related stories in the past, gauge how much attention the news media is likely to give the tragedy. Events that dominate the news cycle tend to dominate online conversation as well, making it less advisable to continue publishing. Even if no one gets upset with you for publishing in the aftermath of a crisis, your followers may ignore your content because they’re paying attention to the tragedy. Wait for things to calm down and the news media to turn to other stories before you return to normal publishing.

6. Address with Caution

One school of thought says a brand shouldn’t mention a tragic incident at all unless it is directly impacted, to avoid any appearance of exploiting the tragedy. Others feel it’s more respectful to honor or pay tribute to the victims of such an incident regardless of direct impact. The best choice depends on your brand’s specific character and audience.

There is one definitive “don’t do” in this equation, however: Never draw a connection of any kind between the tragedy and your brand or campaign. Exhibit A: Epicurious expressing “sympathy” for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing with links to recipes.

A simple human expression that your thoughts are with the victims is more than enough. It says the people behind your brand are experiencing the same emotions as your audience, without in any way exploiting the tragedy for financial or marketing gain.

Everyone grieves in his or her own way, but brands have potential business motivations, and so are held to a higher standard. To avoid offending followers and others during a tragedy, above all be sensitive to your audience’s emotions and take the time to choose your words carefully.


PNConnect is the global digital services offering from Porter Novelli. Our global team spans 60 countries and brings the combined digital resources of our social media marketing, creative production, paid promotions and web development capabilities together for one purpose — to help our clients share their story with the world.

For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.


Thank You


Thank you to all our July contributors.

James O’Malley in New York contributed our feature story on commonly misunderstood and overlooked metrics. From Detroit, Chrisopher Barger shared insights on publishing after a tragedy. Shane Jacob in Bangalore brought us this month’s case study, on Adobe’s Designers of Tomorrow campaign. Chad Hyett in New York and Chris Thilk in Chicago contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats, Advertising Trends, and Noteworthy News sections, and Amanda Wu provided the latest stats. Mark Avera in Atlanta graciously took the Spotlight hot seat. Chad Hyett, James O’Malley, and Josh Hallett answered this month’s Burning Question.

Thanks to Greg Pabst, Jennifer Laker, Peter Schiebel, Sean O’Shaughnessy, John Ciacia, and Jeremy Harrington from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Mary Gaulke, Josh Hallett, Dave Coustan, and Tom Harris for editorial oversight and proofing.

Drop Us a Line

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this edition and your suggestions for future issues.



Top iOS Apps

iPhone Top Paid

Contra: Evolution – Games
Where’s My Mickey – Games
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Dynamojis – Games
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Heads Up! – Games
Smart Alarm – Health & Fitness
Free Music Download Pro – Games
Plants vs. Zombies – Games
Kick the Buddy: No Mercy – Games
iPhone Top Free

Despicable Me: Minion Rush – Games
The Idiot Test 3 – Entertainment
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Can You Escape – Games
Angry Birds Star Wars – Games
The Open Championship – Sports
Riddle Me That – Games
Yidio – Entertainment
Glide Video Texting – Social Networking
Google Maps – Navigation
iPad Top Paid

Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Where’s My Mickey? XL – Games
Sprinkle Islands – Games
Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up! – Entertainment
iStoryTime Books – Books
Plants vs. Zombies HD – Games
SpongeBob Moves In – Games
Pages – Productivity
Kick the Buddy: No Mercy – Games
Smart Alarm Clock for iPad – Health & Fitness
iPad Top Free

Angry Birds Star Wars HD – Games
Despicable Me: Minion Rush – Games
Monster Doctor – Games
Pic What? HD – Games
Google Maps – Navigation
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Disney Princess Palace Pets – Entertainment
Foot Spa – Games
Riddle Me That HD – Games
Turbo Racing League – Games

Top Android & Windows Mobile Apps

Android Top Paid

SwiftKey Keyboard – Productivity
Minecraft – Games
Titanium Backup Pro Key Root – Tools
Nova Launcher Prime – Personalization
Plants vs. Zombies – Games
Beautiful Widgets Pro – Personalization
Root Explorer – Speed Software
Poweramp Full Version Unlocker – Music & Audio
ROM Manager (Premium) – Tools
PdaNet (FoxFi) Key – Communication
Android Top Free

Facebook – Social
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Pandora – Music & Vido
Instagram – Social
Despicable Me – Games
Facebook Messenger – Communication
Skype – Communication
Brightest LED Flashlight – Productivity
Netflix – Entertainment
Sniper Shooter Free – Games
Windows Top Paid

Scan QR Code and Barcode Reader – Tools & Productivity
YouTube Pro – Music & Video
Instagraph – Entertainment
GPS Voice Navigation – Travel & Navigation
Facebook WP8 – Social
HD Scanner – Tools & Productivity
YouTube Downloader Pro – Music & Video
WPGram – Social
YouTube – Music & Video
Metrotube – Music & Video
Windows Top Free

YouTube – Entertainment
Facebook – Social
Unit Converter – Entertainment
Pandora – Music & Video
Skype – Communications
Kik Messenger – Social
Adobe Reader – Tools & Productivity
WhatsApp – Social