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SMT Expert Series: Nick Cicero Discusses the Latest Analytics Trends and Opportunities



smt expert series nick cicero discusses the latest analytics trends and opportunities
SMT Expert Series - Nick Cicero

Nick Cicero is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable minds in social media analytics.

Nick made data analytics his primary focus with the launch of his company Delmondo back in 2014. Delmondo was the first platform to offer in-depth data on Instagram and Snapchat video performance, and quickly rose to be the leading provider in the space, with clients including Viacom, Red Bull and ESPN. Delmondo was acquired by Conviva in 2018, and now, under the Conviva banner, Nick focuses on real-time measurement and intelligence solutions for streaming video across all platforms.

Given his experience, Nick is uniquely placed to provide insights on the evolving digital marketing space, and the importance of analytics and performance measurement to improve your efforts.

We recently had a chance to put a few questions to Nick, worth noting in your process.

Q. What do you think has been the most significant trend in social media marketing over the last few years?

NC: For sure the growth of video. In the first wave of social, it was all about using text, conversation and images to communicate. Today, nearly all social platforms are video-first. The cost to produce, distribute and consume video has decreased exponentially, and this has now pushed businesses to think about how they position their message to a video-first consumer. 

This isn’t just about media companies or sports teams either. Consumer brands are growing their video output significantly. As measured by Conviva Social insights, from January to June 2021, across more than 2,500 consumer brands, video output on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube is up more than 60% year-on-year. And that’s not even counting the surge in video content published to TikTok.

Q. In terms of data trends, what’s been the most interesting shift over the past 12 months?

NC: Two in particular – first is the growth of TikTok in terms of share of the time spent by social media users. Of the 900 TikTok accounts measured in our recent Conviva TikTok Benchmark report, the profiles gained a staggering 604k new followers, on average, over the past year. 

Conviva TikTok report

Second is the growth of YouTube as a player in OTT/Streaming Video. Among our thousands of customer accounts, we found a 69% increase from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020 in terms of connected TV viewership on YouTube. Today, YouTube is becoming more and more like Hulu or Netflix for a wider scope of content. 

Q. Which types of brands are you seeing perform best on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat?

NC: Sports and Sports Media accounts have long been some of the best performing accounts anywhere on social, but we saw a shift in the last year as to what was keeping people entertained, and streaming services, as a result, have really taken off.

In our Q1 2021 State of Streaming report we saw that most streaming service accounts grew their total audience by nearly 100% over the last year. Streaming services are building empires of regional accounts, and show specific accounts to increase their brand footprint. This works even better if a show has a nostalgic following – the iCarly reboot on Paramount+, for example, has a massive cross-platform audience of 27.8m, which is more than Netflix’s golden goose, Stranger Things’ audience at 26.4m.

These shows, their actors, the services are all performing very well on social right now.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the key element of an effective Stories strategy?

NC: Consistency. In our previous Stories research we’ve noted that the brands who are able to grow their Instagram Stories reach consistently always have two things in common – they post multiple times per week, and their Stories are always, at minimum, 6-7 frames long.

One frame Stories here and there simply aren’t going to cut it for brands trying to be competitive in today’s world ruled by social algorithms.

Q: Which platform do you think is underrated in terms of brand opportunities?

NC: While TikTok is the newest platform with tons of opportunities for brands, Snapchat is the most underrated, by far.

In May this year, Snapchat added Brand Profiles, which means you can now get your brand verified on Snapchat the same way that Sports teams, influencers and Discover shows can. 

Snapchat brand profiles

This gives brands something on Snapchat they didn’t have access to in the past – viral organic reach. Currently, only verified accounts show up in Snapchat’s Discover/For You page. As such, a good brand story on Snapchat is no longer limited to just the people who follow you.

Snapchat’s ad products are also highly user-friendly, and very effective.

Q: How significant a role do you expect to see AR play in future social marketing strategies?

NC: I still think that it’s early days, but the potential upside for all the various applications of AR within social platforms is massive.

Today it’s still fairly experimental, but it can be a great piece of the engagement toolkit for user-generated content. We’re also seeing the physical and digital worlds converge through NFTs and the Metaverse, and while a lot of this exists in pure VR or gaming environments, I can see more and more AR applications used as ways to customize an individual’s content creation tools.

For example, superfans of a brand could be given access to unique, exclusive AR effects. Combined with the social graph, the possibilities are endless.

Q: What’s the most common error you see brands make in analyzing their analytics?

NC: I’d say the most common error we see is twofold.

First, you need to set benchmarks. What’s your baseline engagement, video viewership, average watch time, engagement rate, etc.? What are your benchmark for engagements or video views among your competitors or industry? 

You can’t measure what content works and what doesn’t if you don’t know the baseline. 

Second, once you establish your baseline, you need to categorize your content based on initiatives. These could be your Content Messaging Themes, Video Series, or Campaigns (and there are many other ways to segment content). This way you can identify what social media investments are moving the needle, and which ones aren’t. 

It’s important to remember that while we all set out to be successful with every post we publish, or every interaction we have, you need to be honest about what’s working, and what’s not producing results. 

You can swing for the fences, but to hit home runs in social, just know you’re going to need a lot of chances and you’re going to strike out a lot. 

You can be a solid position player, and be more consistent in your hits, but you might never hit that home run.

Try to balance these two extremes when you look at the data to adjust your strategy.

Q: Do you think that Facebook will remain the key social platform of focus for the majority of brands moving forward?

NC: From a content creation perspective, I think the primary focus has quickly shifted to other platforms for the majority of brands, with more brands doubling down on paid spending. That being said, their groups are home to rich, vibrant communities, many of these are brand-curated, and there’s still a large audience on Facebook, and these active group/community users are highly valuable.

Also, Facebook’s ad platform, spanning both Facebook and Instagram, is highly valuable, and I don’t see the majority of brands moving away from using the platform for driving conversions.

Nick Cicero is the Vice President of Strategy at Conviva, which leads the way in digital video intelligence. You can follow Nick on Twitter for more of his industry insights.

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Elon Musk reinstates far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on X



Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Joe Buglewicz

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, on Sunday reinstated far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the social media platform, a year after vowing never to let him return.

Jones, who claimed that a December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators was a hoax, was banned from the platform — then still known as Twitter — in 2018 for violating its “abusive behavior policy.”

He was also sued by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and ordered by a judge in the case to pay up more than a billion dollars in damages last year.

Musk had himself promised never to let the Infowars host back on the social media platform, which he bought last year for $44 billion.

But following a poll Musk conducted on X asking whether Jones should be reinstated, to which some two million users responded, he flipped that decision.

“I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?” the SpaceX founder said on X.

But Shannon Watts, founder of the group Moms Demand Action group which pushes for tighter gun laws, said that “defamation is not free speech.”

Musk’s decision comes the same week that the Sandy Hook families commemorate the 11th anniversary of the December 14 shooting, which Jones alleged was staged to allow the government to crack down on gun rights.

Jones’ followers harassed the bereaved families for years, accusing parents of murdered children of being “crisis actors” whose children had never existed.

It also came a week after Musk had responded to advertisers pulling out of X because of far-right posts and hate speech, including an apparent endorsement by Musk himself of an anti-Semitic tweet.

Asked whether he would respond to the advertising exodus, Musk said in an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that the advertisers could “go f*** yourself.”

Jones, who has a million followers on X, returned to the site with his first post re-tweeting Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxer facing rape and human trafficking charges in Romania, in which he hailed Jones’ “triumphant return”

US media reported that as of Sunday, the account of Jones’ controversial show Infowars was still banned.

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Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users



Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users

Not sure if this will be a valuable addition, or another stream that’ll fade out pretty quick, as Meta stops paying attention to it.

Today, Instagram has launched a new podcast called “Close Friends Only”, which it says will present “the latest on culture – from memes and icks, to fashion and friendship – all from your favorite celebrities.

And they’ve gone big out of the gate, with the first episode featuring Ice Spice in conversation with Doja Cat.

The conversation sees the two stars discuss their favorite memes, their favorite animals, celebrity crushes, experiences in flirting on IG, their juiciest DMs, and more.

Which will no doubt get a heap of attention, and will help make Instagram a bigger focus for youngsters seeking to replicate their idols. But in terms of practical advice or tips, yeah, there might not be a heap there.

But it could be worth tuning in anyway, in order to get the lowdown on the latest trends, from some of the people that are leading the way on cultural shifts.

But then again, as noted, it’ll be interesting to see how IG follows this first episode up, and whether they keep running regular episodes of the podcast with more celebrities.

Either way, it’s an interesting promotional vehicle for IG, especially given that it’s focusing on musicians, as TikTok becomes an even more critical platform for music promotion.

Maybe, then, this will be Instagram’s counter to that, but again, we’ll have to wait and see whether more episodes arrive.

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Who is HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce?



Who is HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce?

ALEXANDRA Peirce proves there’s no such thing as bad publicity, garnering more fans and subscribers every time she posts one of her infamous video rants.

Peirce, known better by her social media pseudonym HRH Collection, has been an internet mainstay for years, and her fame only continues to grow after sharing more of her contentious takes online.


HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce, poses for a photo on her Instagram showcasing pieces from her jewelry lineCredit: Instagram/ therealhrhcollection

Who is Alexandra Peirce?

Alexandra Peirce is a social media personality, influencer, and jewelry designer.

Peirce was born on May 13, 1984, in the US.

She currently resides near Los Angeles, California.

Before launching her famous YouTube channel, Peirce graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in political science.

In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in international business.

While in graduate school, Peirce studied abroad in Shanghai, China, where she says she “fell in love with all things Asian.”

Peirce returned to the US during the peak of the 2008 economic recession, forcing her to move in with her parents.

Despite applying for countless jobs, she couldn’t land a position, leading her to create her YouTube channel.

Peirce post her first video, a “What’s in my bag” vlog where she walked viewers through everyday items she carried in her purse.

Peirce kept the channel going even after landing a job in accounting, posting videos and designing jewelry pieces during lunch breaks and after hours.

Fueled by her growing subscriber count, her design hobby would eventually turn into a full-fledged company, HRH Collection.

While Peirce now runs her jewelry line full-time, she is even better known on the internet for her viral videos, which typically show Peirce sitting in her car, ranting about anything from current events and pop culture trends to hairstyles and holidays.

Her videos are often cut up and reposted on TikTok, where select sound clips go viral.

Some of Peirce’s most well-known tirades include her take on beachy waves – “it’s not the vibe, stop!” – and her controversial views on Women’s Day – ““I think it’s stupid. I really do.”

Nevertheless, Peirce has amassed a legion of hardcore fans and haters who can’t help but watch her scream and shout her opinion on just about everything.

Peirce’s controversial videos (and views) have been compared to other un-cancellable influencers, like Trisha Paytas and Theo Von.

Who else could get away with yelling: “Shut up! Stop being fat! Stop being ugly!” at her viewers, who keep coming back for more?

It seems like no matter what she posts, or how many people disagree with her, viewers can’t help but leave her videos wanting more.

One TikTok user commented: “This woman is actually problematic but my brain is itched by the way she complains because it’s exactly how I think when I’m annoyed.”

Despite – or maybe because of – the controversies, Peirce has continued to grow her social media following.

Her Instagram account boasts 118,000 followers, despite several of her past accounts being banned or deleted.

Peirce’s X account is currently suspended, but that hasn’t stopped the internet icon from sharing her views online.

Her YouTube channel, which hosts over 600 videos, has 449,000 subscribers.

The hashtag #hrhcollection has also garnered nearly 1 billion views on TikTok, from reposted videos to sound bites.

Peirce has also garnered fame via interviews with BuzzFeed News and Interview Magazine, and appeared on podcasts like The Spillover With Alex Clark.

What is HRH Collection?

HRH Collection is a jewelry line created by Alexandra Peirce.

Besides rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, the website also sells bag chains, keychains, ankle socks, t-shirts, and a windbreaker.

On the company’s about page, Peirce explains that the e-commerce site “started as a hobby and has now grown into a company that I’m so proud to call my own.”

Peirce first designed “a Japanese style frosting cupcake ring and key fob,” sharing the pieces on her YouTube channel.

Viewers were interested in purchasing the items, leading Peirce to create La Lumiere, mixing chain metals with assorted crystals to create bracelets and necklaces.

Peirce wore her jewelry to work and showcased her pieces on her social media, leading to steady stream of customers and orders.

From there, Peirce launched an Etsy shop, juggling her full time job alongside designing new pieces and fulfilling online orders.

Peirce states that she is “so thankful” for everyone who helped her along the way, but also offers some practical advice for anyone who hopes to turn their hobby into a viable career, saying she was “strategic” in developing HRH.

She writes: “Many of you guys ask me if you should quit your jobs to pursue YouTube or your other hobbies.”

“To be completely honest, I do not think you should quit your job for any hobby, until you have grown your company into one that can reasonably replace your job – this is very important.”

HRH collection features hundreds of items, with most priced between $50 and $150.

Shoppers can also select items from “Alex’s Musts,” which includes products like a $190 sterling silver tennis necklace, a trio of mixed metal rings for $87, and $59 diet soda hoops, resembling soda can tops.

Consumers looking for unique pieces are in luck, as there is a limited amount of inventory available per item, with many pieces already sold out.

Alexandra Peirce poses with her husband, Jason Locke, and her dog, Ming, for a photo on Instagram


Alexandra Peirce poses with her husband, Jason Locke, and her dog, Ming, for a photo on InstagramCredit: Instagram/ therealhrhcollection

Is Alexandra Peirce married?

Peirce came under fire from both her fans and haters after getting married on June 16, 2023, to her second husband, Jason Locke.

The influencer was mocked for her dress, venue, food, and overall wedding aesthetic.

She was also trolled on social media for live-streaming the event, charging users $25 to watch the party.

Peirce chose to wear a short, white, recycled Zara dress for the reception, while the groom chose to don a camouflaged Trump/Pence hat.

After a small ceremony at Bethania Lutheran Church, a reception was held in the parking lot of the Hitching Post, a BBQ joint in Buellton, California.

The eatery’s website says it is known for its wines and West Coast barbecue, and guests dined on veggies, garlic bread, and quesadillas, among other items.

Decorations were minimal, with few flowers adorning the white tent erected in the parking lot.

Each table did come with a cherry-scented ashtray candle, personalized with ‘Mr. & Mrs. Locke’ in a gothic font.

Peirce then changed into yoga pants before heading off to a local casino with her new beau and a few close friends, keeping the party going well into the morning hours.

Many users took to X to share their thoughts.

Some users called the wedding trashy, while others lamented the party’s seemingly low budget.

One user tweeted: “You had a trailer park wedding” along with a crying and skull emojis.

Another wrote: “how can hrh collection talk about anyone when her dress looks like it came out of a Zara clearance section?”

One influencer even branded the event as “the tackiest wedding ever.”

Peirce fought back, going after her online haters and critics in another one of her infamous video rants.

In a video titled Addressing The Devils, Peirce asks her viewers: “Do you think I didn’t know what my wedding was gonna be like? Like, I didn’t plan my wedding?”

“I don’t like big to-dos. I’m the least to-do person ever.”

She added: “B***h, I could fly to the f**king Maldives with every damn f**king person in my damn family and pay for everyone and not have it impact me at all, you f**king idiots.”

Peirce then stressed that her and Locke wanted to keep the wedding “casual and mellow.”

She said: “I did exactly what I wanted to do for my wedding and I would do it all exactly over again.”

Peirce ended the video by saying: “I’m happy, I’m in a really loving relationship. I basically have everything I want.”

“I have my own business, a beautiful house, I have a husband. I’m really happy right now and you guys are so vicious and mean.”

Then, in her signature fashion, she addressed her haters head-on, explaining: “I get it, because you’re miserable and ugly.”

“And you’re a loser, I understand. Life isn’t fair.”

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