Love them or hate them? New social features to boost your brand into 2018

Popular opinions are sharply divided on many of the big changes and happenings during 2017 in social media. Influencer marketing rocketed, and fake news was fought by Facebook. But what are the major developments of the past year in social platform capabilities that marketers should be aware of? Let’s take a look…

Instagram: Polls, filters and influencers

In 2017, social photo sharing platform Instagram went Face Filter crazy – in a game of catch-up with rival Snapchat. Instagram also enabled users to save and bookmark favourite photos, create multiple-photo posts, and added new desktop functionality. With this constant evolution, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow at a rapid rate, predicted to reach 1 billion users in 2018.

But even more interesting from a B2B perspective, Instagram’s new Business Profiles – its equivalent to parent company Facebook’s Pages – are now being used by more than 25 million marketers. With a handy ‘Contact Us’ button on the profiles, plus invaluable in-depth analytics about the number of impressions and unique reach that each post achieves, it’s no surprise that businesses want a slice of the action, with 80% of Instagram’s 800 million users now following at least one business account.

Influencer marketing is exploding right now on Instagram. Brands of all sizes are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers to spread their message. In the spirit of enhanced transparency – and with the added benefit of bringing even more credibility to influencer marketing – Instagram rolled out a ‘Paid Partnership With’ tag in June 2017 for posts and Stories.

This year also saw Instagram Stories celebrating its first birthday by adding an interactive poll function – so your brand can now ask customers topical questions and easily share the results. It’s a great way to add more interaction to your Instagram visual storytelling.

Facebook: Smarter Stories, plus more Live and 360° video

Facebook created its own Stories function in 2017 and then rolled out an option to link Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories. The big news for business was that Facebook Stories also opened up to include Pages, allowing brands a new useful marketing tool.

Facebook 360 was also launched in 2017. Over 25 million 360-degree photos have now been posted on Facebook, plus 1 million immersive 360-degree videos.

Pushing forward with Facebook Live this year, it became possible to start broadcasting directly from your laptop or desktop computer, and to add comments to your live broadcasts. A great tool for PR, and experiential events, The Crocodile has used Facebook Live with a number of clients this year, including Volvo Construction Equipment, Swatch, and B2B Marketing – with exceptional results!

Twitter: Character-building experiences

In 2017, Twitter turned eleven years old – and decided it was time for an interface makeover, such as turning square profile pictures into circles and repositioning tabs, toolbars and sidebars.

The update was mostly cosmetic.

However, 2017’s big development on Twitter was the increased character allowance for each tweet – from 140 to 280 characters. This was a major long-awaited change for consumers and brands alike, and probably one of the biggest social media news items of 2017. The move followed criticism that it was not easy enough to tweet, and was seen as part of Twitter’s masterplan to attract new users, increase growth and compete with other social platforms. While Twitter currently has 330 million active users, this is a relatively small user-base – Instagram has 800 million, and Facebook over 2 billion users.

The good news for marketers? While it’s still early days, some preliminary research indicates that tweets longer than 140 characters get more engagement. Analytics company SocialFlow has reported that people are liking and retweeting longer tweets almost two-times more than shorter ones.

LinkedIn: Generating leads and leading generations

The big LinkedIn news for B2B this year was the introduction of Lead Generation Forms, allowing users to opt-in to your offer with just one click. According to, AdWeek: “marketers have reported that using the lead gen forms have helped lower their average cost per lead by more than 20%”.

Another major step forward for LinkedIn was the rolling out of native video capabilities this year, allowing B2B marketers the chance to stream live video to a professional audience.

The Crocodile was an early adopter, joining the LinkedIn closed video beta trial for client the London Stock Exchange Group.

All in all, 2017 has been an exciting year for social media, and an interesting time for B2B social marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog – about hot topics to watch out for in social media in 2018.

Merry Crocmas!



We hope you have a good break.

The Crocodile will be closed from 3pm on Friday 22nd of December until Tuesday 2nd January.

No prizes for second place…

Turns out that’s not quite true. This year team Standard Life and The Crocodile scooped ‘Runner Up’ trophies for our ‘Step Ahead With Confidence’ SME workplace pensions campaign at both the B2B Marketing Awards and the Social Buzz Awards.

At the B2B Marketing Awards we won silver in the ‘Best B2B Lead Generation and Nurture’ category and at this year’s Social Buzz Awards, we were runners up in the ‘Best B2B Social Media Campaign’ category.

Truth is, we don’t rate coming second and as much as we like to see a new trophy in the boardroom, silver isn’t good enough. It is however industry recognition that collectively our thinking, craft and execution are up there with the very best in key categories.

You can expect us to find another gear in 2018 as we push for the top spot. Game on!

Jason Talbot
Managing Director

Can we snap up four B2B Awards?

The prestigious B2B Awards 2017 take place this Thursday at The Roundhouse, London. This year, The Crocodile’s brand of conversational marketing has led to us being shortlisted in no fewer than four categories for our Step Ahead With Confidence campaign for Standard Life.

Of course, there are no easy categories to win. All require a deep pool of skill sets, both client and agency side, to achieve connected strategies and exceptional customer experiences that deliver results.

The theme for the awards night is ‘Unleash Your Beasts’ – a good omen for an agency with a name like ours! Over the past few weeks we’ve embraced our inner Croc to create some epic beast-themed content, which you can enjoy on our Twitter feed.

Stay tuned to our Instagram and Twitter feeds to see how many awards we snap up. There may even be a few surprises in store – but hopefully not too many Crocodile tears!

Our 2017 B2B Awards Shortlist:

  • Best Multichannel Campaign
  • Best SME Campaign
  • Best Lead Generation & Nurture
  • Bravery Award

Croc Robyn up for WIM Award

The Crocodile’s Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, has been nominated for a Women In Marketing Award. The award for Contribution to Marketing recognises women who have contributed significantly to marketing as a result of the work they have achieved for their organisation or for the industry as a whole.

Robyn is arguably one of the most accomplished social media practitioners in the UK. She has built The Crocodile’s social media division from scratch, fulfilling her role as an entrepreneurial, commercially accountable department head in a busy agency, and in the process building an enviable roster of global clients.

“I’m very fortunate to work with a lot of talented people – both agency and client side,” says Robyn. “WIM provides an important source of support and inspiration for women in the profession and I’m excited to join their ranks.”

Commenting on the nomination, The Crocodile’s managing director, Jason Talbot, adds: “Being an early pioneer of B2B social has given Robyn a unique perspective. She’s passionate not just about the techniques and technologies, but about challenging perceptions and evangelising the possibilities.”

The WIM Awards ceremony takes place on Thursday, 16th November 2017 in Soho, London.

Buzzing from 4 more nominations

The Drum’s Social Buzz Awards celebrate and reward the very best in social media communications.

With Standard Life (Best Financial Sector) and VolvoCE (Best Social Event) we have yet again demonstrated B2B social can and should match anything the B2C market has to offer.

By driving richer experiences capable of supporting a deeper level of conversation we adopt a more human and personal approach. In B2B we believe this really can make the difference, so it’s fantastic to be the only agency to be nominated twice in the Best B2B category.

“As the most nominated B2B agency, we are really proud to be shortlisted four times this year. It’s great recognition that we continue to deliver award worthy work,” says Robyn Pierce, Head of Social Media at The Crocodile. “We couldn’t do this without amazing collaboration with our clients.”

2017 nominations:

Best Social Event – VolvoCE
Best Financial Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – Standard Life
Best B2B Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – VolvoCE
Best B2B Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – Standard Life

Redefining the global agency network

Businesses with a global footprint often require their agency partners to have global capabilities. All the best-known agency networks have presence in key markets, and it’s easy to see why: it suits the agencies to win high value, global revenue opportunities, and it suits the client’s objectives for brand consistency, logistical simplicity and economies of scale.

Great. Except it’s not.

The formal network agency model is tired, inflexible and becoming less suited to the dynamics of global marketing. The fact is, once client A is tied into network agency B, theirs becomes a marriage of convenience rather than passion, held together by a soulless Service Level Agreement.

The personnel and capabilities of the network agency are fixed. The delivery model is by necessity driven by process (centralise the strategy, localize/translate the execution. Measure. Repeat). And the incentives for either side to look beyond the confines of the SLA are pretty much non-existent.

As a client, you get what you’re given.

So, what if the network model changed completely? What if networks instead comprised informally connected communities of entrepreneurial agencies – a mix of like-minded creative and strategic powerhouses, all of them excited by the possibilities of contemporary marketing, and all bringing intense flavours of local knowledge to enhance in-country marketing relevance and effectiveness?

Clients would gain access not just to the expertise, technologies and techniques of a single network agency (however illustrious they may be) – but to the combined capabilities of 30, 40, 50 market-leading specialists, located in major cities all over the world.

They would be agencies that know each other intimately, that work together regularly, that share vision and values, that have proven models for delivering campaigns at scale on behalf of global clients.

The Crocodile is a founding member of the Affinità network, launching on 27th September. We are ten agencies today and growing fast; a vigorous community – handpicked for their energy, expertise and effectiveness – and all convinced by the potential for harnessing independent thought in pursuit of marketing excellence.

In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing our vision of how Affinità can break the mold of international network marketing to help clients have better, more valuable connections and conversations with global markets.

GDPR compliance – Let’s get personal

Two months into my new role at The Crocodile and I was given the not-so-simple task of presenting a knowledge sharing session to the team about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is one of the biggest topics affecting the marketing world right now, and with so much information out there, the challenge was to find out what the essential bits we all need to know are. So, here is my bite-sized overview of what the GDPR is, and what it means for you.

The GDPR is the new legislation from the EU, and affects anyone who collects or processes personal data on EU residents. In the UK, the GDPR will replace the Data Protection Act.

It will come into effect on 25 May 2018, and there is no transition period. From this date onwards, any breaches of data will be hit with tough penalties, with the maximum fine being a staggering £17 million, or 4% of your annual turnover, whichever is greatest. This is a far cry from the current maximum fine in the UK of £500,000.

Why is it happening?

  • To create a framework that simplifies and harmonises the international regulatory environment for business.
  • Provide more consistent protection for personal data.
  • Improve trust among consumers.
  • Give businesses more accountability.
  • Create more protection around B2B data.
  • Stay up-to-date with the digital age (the Data Protection Act was created in 1998).

The 6 key principles that underpin the GDPR

Personal data should be:

  1. Processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals.
  2. Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not processed beyond those.
  3. Adequate, relevant and limited to what’s necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
  4. Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  5. Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.
  6. Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data.

Key impacts it will have on you as a marketing professional

Opt-ins, opt-outs and consent:

  • Consent must be informed and clearly given via a positive opt-in action.
  • Requests should be given in clear, plain language stating how the data will be used.
  • There should be a genuine choice about consenting – service provision cannot be conditional.
  • Children under 16 years old cannot give consent – parental consent is required.
  • Different consent categories must be separated.
  • Special categories of data such as race or health requires more explicit consent.
  • Withdrawing consent must be clearly explained and as easy to do as giving consent in the first place.
  • Pre-ticked opt-in is no longer allowed.

The right to be forgotten:

  • Giving someone the means of accessing and removing their data.
  • Being able to prove that the data has been deleted from your database.
  • Ensuring removal from any third party you may have supplied the data to.

Changes to legal basis for processing data:

  • More rules around processing data means better housekeeping on the part of marketers.
  • There must be a clear reason for data collection ­– no collecting data for unnecessary reasons.

Some aspects of how the new regulation will look in practice haven’t yet been explicitly stated, so there are still grey areas within how it will impact social media, automation, and targeted online marketing. Here at The Crocodile we see it as an opportunity for businesses. By engaging with your customer on their terms however, and wherever suits them, and by being innovative in your marketing techniques, you will remain both compliant, and ahead of the competition.

To find out more about how we can help you on the way to becoming GDPR compliant, get in touch at

By Georgie Pickard

Beasting the B2B Awards

The B2B jungle is a competitive place with lots of fierce creatures. Turns out that team Standard Life have what it takes to be at the head of the pack having been shortlisted in no fewer than four categories:

  • Category 1: Best Multichannel
  • Category 16: Best SME
  • Category 22: Best Lead Generation & Nurture
  • Category 24: Bravery Award

There are no easy categories and all require a deep pool of skill sets, both client and agency side, to achieve connected strategies – with exceptional customer experiences that deliver results.

We hope that we have good cause to be swinging from the rafters come November 23rd when the winners are announced.

Standard Life: Step Ahead With Confidence

Taking digital experience to the next level

We are delighted to welcome Shimpei Okumura to our gang. He joins us from John Brown Media as Digital Art Director, having built a fantastic portfolio across fashion, lifestyle and finance brands.

This strategic appointment looks to boost our digital design team as the agency continues to push the importance of great digital experiences in the B2B industry.

Chris Tongeman, Creative Director at The Crocodile says: “In B2B there is no shortage of content being created, but what is often lacking is the craft and finesse skills required to take something to the next level and differentiate through the quality of experience. Shimpei will be a great addition to our talented team as we look to create higher value conversations with our clients’ customers.”

Crocs join DMA Awards panel

The Crocodile’s Managing Director, Jason Talbot, and Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, have been selected to be part of the judging panel for the 2017 DMA Awards.

The DMAs are widely respected in the marketing world and reward brands and their agencies for excellence in all facets of marketing. Judged on the pillars of creativity, strategy, and results, a DMA Award is one of the industry’s most coveted prizes.

“As an agency, we are very passionate about our industry and are big advocates of championing excellence.” says Jason. “To work alongside other industry leaders, as part of the DMA Awards judging panel, is a great privilege and we look forward to seeing some exciting and provocative work. We wish everyone entering the very best of luck.”

Entries close on Friday 15 September and the shortlist will be revealed on Monday 16 October. The awards themselves take place in London on Tuesday 5 December.

Why Google Analytics is awesome

According to Arthur C. Nielsen (Market Researcher & Founder of ACNielsen):

The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.

In our most recent ‘Knowledge Sharing Session’ we discussed why Google Analytics is awesome.

In the era of data-driven campaigns and analytics it is crucial to define our measurement goals from the beginning, establishing the relevant KPIs and measuring marketing effectiveness. A recent Google survey of marketing decision-makers revealed that only five out of ten marketers said that they think about measurement while developing campaign strategy.

At The Crocodile, we seek to understand what turns a lead into a customer, and by using Google Analytics we map the customer journey to understand what kind of information must be provided and when to understand the stages these users travel through until they have completed their goals. Google Analytics allows us to measure audience figures and analyse campaign data, instrument products and services to capture data about usage and behaviour.

‘Without analytics we could not exist.’

It’s not only the media department that is Google Analytics certified at The Crocodile, we also ensure everyone in account management and the social team pass their tests. This allows us to generate actionable marketing intelligence to improve campaign performance across channels, devices and departments.

We always welcome new solutions and aim to make the most of them. We’ve built custom dashboards for our clients in Google Analytics Data Studio to get a quick overview of what is happening in our online campaigns – which can be easily shared with our account managers, providing them with insights so that they can communicate more effectively with our clients or with designers, to show them the impacts or results of their work.

Next up on our agenda is to set up Google Attribution 360 to measure the impact of marketing across devices and channels. Google Attribution 360 offers data-driven attribution which uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each step in the consumer journey.

To find out more about how we use Google Analytics and other insight-driven marketing tools to help our clients achieve their business objectives, get in touch at


by Adrienn Pajtok, PPC Account Manager

Simon Hurrell – new Head of Digital

The Crocodile’s appointment of Simon Hurrell as new Head of Digital signals a statement of intent as the agency looks to integrate smarter digital customer experiences across our clients’ businesses.

Simon joins with a stellar B2B agency track record including DNX and McDonald Butler – and brings with him a vast array of experience to help guide our client brands through a marketing landscape rich with potential.

Jason Talbot, Managing Director at The Crocodile says: “We took our time to find the correct balance of strategic capabilities and cultural fit to meet our ongoing ambition to exceed the performance expectations of our clients. In Simon I saw someone who wants to improve whatever he touches and a restless nature that doesn’t settle for second best. We are very happy to have him as part of our leadership team”.

Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 3

With 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is simply too big to ignore – even in B2B.

Facebook is the largest social platform in terms of active users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion and WeChat with 889 million.

Apart from YouTube, the only other social media platforms with more than 1 billion users are Facebook Messenger and Facebook owned WhatsApp with 1.2 billion each. You can bet that Instagram (Facebook owned!) won’t be far behind.

With a 17% hike in users this year, Facebook is growing faster now than any year since 2012, despite the fact that the platform no longer appeals to younger users – an audience that doesn’t really concern us in B2B.

The ubiquity and reach of Facebook alone should be reason enough for B2B brands to invest in the platform – B2B buyers are Facebook users too.

Yes, it’s true that the usage profile of people on Facebook is different to that of LinkedIn and Twitter. And it’s true that people typically aren’t using the app for work, but show them something great that happens to be work related, and they’ll click on it.

People use Facebook to be distracted and entertained. Maybe part of the problem is that in B2B generally, we’re not confident enough in our ability to entertain. Long sales cycles and complex propositions are frankly poor excuses for not at least trying to bring a little joy to B2B marketing.

To explore the difference it can make, we did some A/B testing on a recent Facebook campaign for Dell EMC, comparing static image ads that were on-brand with gif based ads featuring a distinctly off-brand dancing man. The dancing man outperformed the brand ads by 194%.

B2B brands need to stop fearing failure and push themselves to discover and deliver what audiences really want and the best place to do that is on Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

To understand how B2B audiences stack up on Facebook, I consulted TrackMaven’s 2016 B2B Social Media Industry report and discovered that in B2B overall, the average audience size is bigger on Facebook than on Twitter.

The only industries cited in the report where that wasn’t the case are Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Medical and Engineering. People working in those industries are still reachable on Facebook using targeting parameters like Job Title, Field of Study, Employer and Industry, but how many marketers in those areas are exploring Facebook’s potential?

Part of the problem is there are too many senior stakeholders in B2B marketing who don’t use Facebook, don’t like it or literally don’t know a thing about it. We need to set aside our personal preferences in the same way we do with traditional media. I don’t read Tunnels and Tunnelling magazine or Medical Design Technology but I understand the role they play in reaching certain audiences. I also know that many of the people who read those magazines are on Facebook…

Cost-effective, scalable advertising

Of course there are many millions of companies with Facebook Pages. Over 50 million in fact, but only 6% of them are actively advertising. That’s a massive untapped opportunity. But it’s only a matter of time before the 94% catch on!

Facebook is the most cost-effective and scalable advertising platform on the market, and without doubt, the best video ad buy for your money right now. We often see CPM rates as low as £2-£3 on Facebook that are likely to be £20-£30 in three or four years time.

Facebook data shows that in the US, the average person now spends approximately 60 minutes each day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. That’s almost 50x more than the average time spent on Twitter, and for comparison, the average LinkedIn user only spends a couple of hours a months on the site.

Think of Facebook as TV. That’s how Facebook thinks of itself these days. Facebook doesn’t care about Twitter or LinkedIn. Facebook is going after Amazon and Netflix. Facebook Live will soon be as big as TV for advertising. Certainly around those Superbowl type moments.

Facebook Live essentially puts TV cameras into the hands of anyone with a smart phone. However, fear of failure is stopping B2B brands from exploiting the opportunity to deliver real-time and personal brand experiences in the most cost effective way imaginable.

The critical forces driving the success of Facebook (like mobile and video) have already converged and you need to ask yourself are you in step and are you moving with the curve?

In next week’s blog… The truth about social content.

Click to read part 1 and part 2 in the Time to Rethink B2B Social series.