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All change for celeb influencers on social media

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A research project on social influence, to be released early in 2018, will reveal key insights into the audiences that populate brand communities on social networks.

World Wide Worx, South Africa’s leading technology market research company, is partnering with Continuon for the 2018 South African Social Influencer Survey.

A home-grown social intelligence platform, Continuon is powered by advanced computational statistical analysis. Its smart social intelligence platform helps brands identify and segment influencers on big social media networks. The research study aims to show brands the importance of authenticity, reach, relevance, and resonance in the influencer marketing equation.

“The South African market is nascent, but there is growing interest in influencer marketing locally,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. “There is real gold hidden in the social communities of this country’s most popular social brands. We’re going to use some pretty smart algorithms to find them.”

World Wide Worx and Continuon anticipate that the survey results won’t delight all parties. Self-styled “influencers” could have the true extent of their influence laid bare by the data.

Bradley Elliott, founder of Continuon, says: “Brands are eager to investigate influencer marketing that goes beyond social celebrity endorsements. The 2018 South African Social Influencer Survey will reveal authentic influencers in brand communities on the major social networks, and this may upset brand use of social celebrities.”

Elliott points out that influencer marketing is strongly associated with social celebrities because of the obsession marketers have with the concept of reach, or numbers of followers and viewers.

“But there’s more to influence than reach,” says Elliott “Think of influencer marketing as word-of-mouth on social steroids. When brands first adopted influencer marketing, they latched onto reach, because this measure is so familiar to marketers. Traditionally it has been a big part of how advertising is measured. But we’re learning that influence is also about resonance, relevance and, most importantly, authenticity.

“The 2018 South African Social Influencer Survey will look beyond the usual celebrity influencers on which brands have depended. This is because the research will delve into the most active and engaged audiences in a brand’s social networks. We’ll be studying real people who promote brands on social media because they authentically want to do so.

“Authenticity is proving critical to real influence as consumers become more sophisticated. Social South Africans are sussed: they can spot fake influence and insincere endorsements a mile off,” says Elliott.

According to Goldstuck, 30 major brands have already signed up to allow their live data to be analysed in the new study.

“This interest is driven by brands that appreciate the growing role that social influence plays in the marketing mix,” he says.

Continuon’s founder adds that the growing brand participation means there is a significant pool of live social data that will yield deep insights when the survey is published early in 2018.

CAPTION: Google Trends reveals a dramatic uptick in influencer marketing the world over, during the past two years

CAPTION: Google Trends reveals a dramatic uptick in influencer marketing the world over, during the past two years

World Wide Worx and Continuon are inviting other local brands to participate in this pioneering influencer project. There is no cost to participation. In return, each brand will receive in-depth social intelligence that is specific to their brand. The data will include:

●      Insights on how to identify and leverage top brand influencers;

●      A full social media behavioural analysis across the three big platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram;

●      The analysis will reveal each individual’s influence and interests within a specific brand community, across each of the three social media platforms;

●      The research will identify behaviours, and reveal knowledge about what gets non-celebrity influencers talking;

●      Finally, the research will benchmark the quality of each brand’s community, and assess the level of influence of these brand communities.

The results of this groundbreaking research will offer top-level insights on influencer marketing to the advertising, brand and reputation industries in South Africa, but brand-specific information will not be revealed publicly. Participating brands will be guaranteed anonymity in the published results and will receive confidential reports specific to their brand. The research report will be published during the first quarter of 2018.

There is no cost attached to participating in the trailblazing study. Interested brands can contact Richard Nischk, Continuon product manager, by email on richie@continuon.co or by cellphone, on +27 60 322 5801. Continuon can be contacted on +27 21 822 2244.

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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