At LeWeb, it’s all hand-wringing: Paris versus London

Jan Rezab is the CEO of social media and digital analytics company SocialBakers.

The LeWeb conference is just winding down for another year in Paris. From the major brands to the new startups looking for the big break, everyone’s been here.

The conference began amid a lot of speculation about a possible move to London. That commenced a whole debate around innovation in Europe and the regular debate on Europe vs. Silicon Valley. This was heightened by Google executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, saying that Silicon Valley needs to have more competitors on the world stage. Schmidt said he believes a number of European cities had the potential, with Paris being the forerunner. Of course, all of us Europeans loved this and strongly believe that Europe is finally living up to its promise.I’m still completely buzzing from my first panel at LeWeb. I was joined by Victoria Ransom, CEO of Wildfire, and Matthieu Chéreau, founder and CEO of Tigerlily to debate “Going beyond creating a Facebook page”. The key takeaway from the panel was data, data and more data. It’s all about having the information to understand how to engage audiences and build lasting relationships. The three of us all believe that the right data provides a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and without data it’s impossible to strategically build campaigns that will deliver the best return on investment.

This became even more relevant when Sean Parker stepped onstage and talked about the future of the social web. He claimed that the outcome of the next US election will be determined by social media, and that got me thinking about what has changed in social media since the last election.

Every candidate will be using social media this time around. Having a social and digital policy will not be the differentiator but getting it right and building real engagement will be key. This time around, candidates will have to understand their audiences and develop relationships that are real. What worked for the Obama administration last time will not suffice, but picking the right tools and strategies will give significant results to those that get it right. Once again it all comes back to data and using the data to understanding what’s going to work.

LeWeb continues to be one of the best digital conferences in the world, and this year was no different.