3 Things Every Brand Needs to Remember From SXSW

March 17, 2015

SXSWSXSW has been a whirlwind of activity this year – and the problem is always the same after conferences as big and exciting as this one: How do you experience everything SXSW has to offer and then condense it into one blog post?

The answer: It’s extremely difficult.

Of all the insights gained this year, here are three things that I will most certainly bring back with me to Ketchum’s London office:

1. Time as a content metric

Both Buzzfeed’s Dao Nguyen (“The Art and Science of Shareability”) and Biz Stone (“Biz Stone on Creativity and Redefining Success”) spoke in their sessions about the importance of measuring time when evaluating success. Users that share spend on average sixty-eight percent more time on a Buzzfeed page. This is also a trend that we’re starting to see on social media—Facebook is tracking reading time in a bid to discourage link baiting and YouTube have also come out to say that they favor long viewing times. High-impact content is essential.

2. Audiences aren’t stupid

If you bombard your audiences with sales messages and ads, they won’t appreciate it. Nobody enjoys being cold-called and having a sales pitch rammed down their throats. In a bid to make the brand relatable, we learned at the “Snackability Effect: A New Norm for Brand Content” that truly stunning campaigns are emotionally evocative and effectively art (click-to-tweet). They really have to connect with their audiences and provide value in each of their engagements opportunities.

3. Iteration is the key to success

Don’t think of content as an end result. Buzzfeed (“Lessons from BuzzFeed”) deems that content should be a movable force that’s optimized with audience data and insights. By testing different headlines and images, publishers can learn what readers respond to, and in turn inform decisions about future content. For example, BuzzFeed found that color images perform much better than black and white images. Why? Because it’s easier to discern what you’re seeing in color. The information is relayed to the brain faster.

*A Bonus Takeaway: Super and Meerkat

SXSW wouldn’t be SXSW if you didn’t discover some new apps. The two on everyone’s lips this year—Super and Meerkat.

Remember to check out Ketchum.com’s SXSW social hub for the latest from the conference and join the conversation with #KetchumSXSW.

Abby is the Head of Digital at our Ketchum UK office.