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BBC Social Media

Helping shape the BBC’s social media strategy

How do you define a future strategy in a dynamic area where the sands are constantly shifting?
That was the challenge faced by the BBC at the start of 2011. The team were particularly interested in looking at future trends and what these would mean for a national broadcaster.

Keeping it natural

We ran a 6 month study which combined several research methods and ethnographic techniques to understand what content types people were sharing, when they were doing it and how frequently. Diary studies, telephone interviews and shadowing were all used, culminating in a set of findings that showed the social media world through other people’s eyes.
To keep participants’ behaviour as natural as possible, they were not told the research was for the BBC until the end of the study.

A window on the real world

The study culminated in the creation of a series of compelling documentaries. These not only provided a fascinating window into the role of content sharing in people’s everyday lives, but also included insights into future trends, including the growing trend amongst some younger people to actively manage their own audiences, which is changing the way they live their lives…


Amongst the insights delivered to the BBC team was an understanding of how disposable Social Networking brands are. Even before the stats on Facebook’s declining usage emerged as a news story, our insights suggested that they might be abandoned by significant sections of their audience.
This project brings into sharp focus just how vital it is to know your audience.


Future Labs
Video Documentaries

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