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Staying in sync with culture
Social media has transformed the way we communicate,
how we consume content, and the speed at which we
demand marketers respond to our needs.
Today, it’s imperative for brands to be agile – to adapt
to consumers’ dynamic behaviors and synchronize with
culture. Brands that can’t provide real-time, relevant
content and experiences will become obsolete. In our
mission to leverage cultural insights to elevate brands’
efforts in all aspects of marketing and innovation, we
have unscrambled the myths about social media to help
you stay in sync with shifting online habits.

My 18-year-old texts like I do.


Millennials communicate in emojis, a visual
vernacular that conveys humor, ambiguity,
personality and meaning.

Emoji Tracker, a real-time tool that tracks the
number of everyone’s favorite Japanese emoticons
being used on Twitter, is proof that worldwide
emoji use has reached stratospheric levels.
The top emojis on Twitter at the time of writing
are: 288,625,322 mentions
33,016,067 mentions
19,692,028 mentions.
Source: emojitracker.com

Earlier this year, freelance journalist, Fletcher
Babb, received death threats in the form of
emojis for
his investigation into Instagram’s widening black
market of illegal prescription drugs. This led law
enforcement to rethink the unexplored territory
of emoticons in cyberlaw.

As millennials adopt emojis as their primary
language, a gap in communications between
Generation Y and the rest of the population will
widen. Code-switching will evolve into a full-blown
generational language gap.

Instagram is just for sharing pics.


In many markets, it’s a burgeoning
e-commerce platform.

Small retailers generated anywhere between
25-40% of daily sales via Instagram while larger
retail brands are leveraging the platform to promote
and preview new products, and host photo
contests that require participants to purchase
a product to participate.
Source: Fashionista.com; Ecommercerules.com

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail will die away
as we move towards the world on sale. Imagine
a Manhattan with no retail stores, but every
object capable of being identified, selected and
purchased on demand; or hotels where shops
and accommodations are one and the same.

Social media is for the young.


It’s thanks to grandma that Facebook
was the dominant social network in 2013.

Facebook’s most substantial growth in 2013 came
from those in the senior set, with 45% of people age
65+ now using the platform, up from 35% in 2012.
Source: pewinternet.org

On Twitter, the 55-64 bracket is the fastest
growing, with a 79% increase since 2012, while the
growth on both Facebook and Google+ is with
45 to 54 year olds.
Source: GlobalWebIndexStudy

The social space will explode with new networks
targeting specific demographics. Expect to see
niche platforms with user experiences tailored
for babies, geriatrics, and everyone in between.
Multiple “internets” may emerge as a result of this,
each with its own audiences, social norms, and
coded dialects.

Twitter serves as a primary
second screen platform during
Live TV events.


According to Trendrr, a Social TV Analytics

Limited by the private nature of its data,
Facebook has received little credit for
driving social TV activity and show
ratings. However, recent studies reveal
that Facebook outpaces all other social
networks in second screen activity.

platform, Facebook boasts 5x more social TV
activity than
Twitter, with strengths around news
programming, Hispanic programming and live
sporting events.

The idea of the “second screen” will fade away
as augmented reality overlays in the form of lenses
and glasses gain popularity. This form of
connection will be more impactful and engaging, but
also more invasive. When brands abuse this space,
expect more intense backlash than found on
traditional social platforms.

Twitter is a reliable
barometer of broader public


Twitter serves as a statistically unsound
proxy for the broader country, skewing young

Twitter’s skewed
demographics make it an
inaccurate indicator.

(45% are 18-29, more than double that age
share of the overall population), educated (40%
have a Bachelor’s Degree vs. 20% of the overall
population) and affluent (48% earn $75,000+ vs.
39% of the overall population).
Source: Pew Research Center

Ubiquitous tracking, sharing, and computing will
turn social platforms (and their data) into actual
measures of a population. At any time, users will
be able to analyze the entire world’s data for
answers to any questions they might have. Due to
this development, political and marketing interests
in social networks will only continue grow.

Google+ is a ghost town
that doesn’t really


The number of Google +1s is the second strongest

Because of Google’s dominance in search,
Google+ plays an integral role in determining
your brand’s search ranking.

organic search ranking factor after “Page
Authority,” with a 0.30 correlation.
Source: SEOmoz 2013 Search Ranking Factors Study

Search ads with Google +1 annotations generate
a 5-10% uplift in click-through rate.
Source: Google AdWords

Google+ will aggregate not only humans, but
also the human-like, ultimately becoming the first
post-human social network. This platform will
connect robots, emotional smart appliances,
and the vast array of devices formerly known as the
internet of things.

Internet users only use traditional
search engines for discovery.


Twitter handles more search queries per month –

Because of Google’s dominance in search,
Google+ plays an integral role in determining
your brand’s search ranking.

32 billion – more than Bing and Yahoo!
Source: www.rocketpost.com
Pinterest search actually beats Google image
search by providing more actionable results

and more digestible information quickly.
Source: searchengineland.com

Visual search will become the norm due to the
increase in wearable augemented reality
devices, and a new search king will emerge to
overtake traditional search engines.

My brand needs to be
on every social network.


Every social network has different uses and
benefits. For example, Instagram is best for visual

Brands must pick the ideal social networks
to reach and impact their unique target.

lifestyle brands that can post authentic, real-time
photos regularly, while Pinterest is best for
brands that already have a rich, image-based
from which photos can be pinned.

Instead of spreading content across multiple
channels, brands of the future may focus exclusively
on one channel and become synonymous with it.
As a result, we’ll see brands acting more like VCs,
supporting symbiotic channels with financial backing.

People primarily prefer to engage
with snackable content.


Two-thirds of time spent on a webpage
is “below the fold.”

It’s not the length of your content,
but what you say with it.

Source: Chartbeat

Nearly 40% of time spent watching online videos
consists of long-form viewing.
Source: Ooyala’s Global Video Index Report

Content will be as long or short as a reader
likes. Looking for today’s newspaper summed up
in one word? Just collapse the text for

Facebook hashtags
turbo charge viral reach.


Hashtags do nothing to generate additional
exposure and are limited by Facebook users’
privacy settings.

On average, posts with hashtags generated
a median viral reach per fan of 0.8% versus
1.3% for posts without hashtags.
Source: Edgerank Checker Study

On Facebook, hashtags are primarily used
in promotional material and are therefore
likely to drive less engagement.
Source: Edgerank Checker Study

Real-time tools will wordsmith your writing for
optimal shareability as you type, making your
every sentence “upworthy.”

Watching TV online is
watching live- streamed
game play.


Each month millions of visitors go to
Twitch, a broadcasting gaming video
to watch other users play games.

Twitch reports 12 billion minutes watched per
month, over 45 million unique viewers per month,
900,000 broadcasters per month, and 6 million
total videos broadcasted per month. Twitch users
watch an average 106 minutes of content per

Professional gaming will reach more and more
fans, while exploding into micro-niches. Expect
microsuperstars to emerge: the world’s best flappy-bird
player, the world’s most talented candy crush master,
the world’s fastest Mario platformer and more.

About Us
sparks & honey is a data-driven advertising newsroom that helps synchronize brands with culture. Leveraging
our proprietary Cultural Strategy tools like Cultural Listening and Platform Mapping, we monitor and score
content energy levels, project their lifespan and analyze their cultural resonance. These tools allows us to
develop cultural insights that drive social content development, marketing strategy, and long-term planning.


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