Archive for the ‘Measurement’ Category

Is the social media ‘deadpool’ going to get crowded in 2010?

December 15, 2009 4 comments

My post last week on Google’s announcement of real time search    focused on what impact it may have on the incumbent social media monitoring vendors. Bing (with greater FB reach) and Yahoo have also waded in. Today, we have the announcement from Twitter that they will be rolling out business accounts and Google and Facebook are introducing url shortners. While, I can see how the Twitter business apps like CoTweet and Hootsuite can benefit from the ‘contributors’ feature, I think any new entrants looking to build sCRM tools on Twitter will now have their work cut out. If Twitter business accounts provide excellent multi user functionality and they whack in some serious analytics behind it plus CRM, then I can’t see how the other guys can compete in the long term.

In the monitoring space, I don’t think we will see the major players  (Radian6, Techrigy, VisibleTechnologies, BuzzMetrics etc) going south, but the smaller guys and new entrants will be sleeping with one or maybe both eyes open for the next few months. are well established and I am not sure how the Google / Facebook url shortners will affect them in the short term. They have announced new analytics and measurement features so that should keep them in front well into 2010 plus we will have to see how much users care about the url shortners in FB and Google.

Maybe some acquisitions will come in to play in 2010. Who knows? Its going to be an interesting year…


Report from Monitoring Social Media 09

November 18, 2009 2 comments

Yesterday I was at the inaugural Monitoring Social Media 09 conference. We had representatives from leading brands, agencies, monitoring vendors, bloggers, researchers…and probably a few social media gurus (although I didn’t actually meet any with the title on their name badge, which was a shame!), all coming together to share knowledge and experience on social media monitoring and measurement – one of the current buzz topics in the tech/media space.

Luke Brynley-Jones (CEO of Our Social Times), did a great job in putting the conference together and managed to attract a good range of speakers and panellists. The hall was almost full up until around 4.45pm, which is pretty good going and it was good to see a mix of nationalities and a decent gender ratio. One complaint from a few delegates (via the twitter stream) was that there was only one woman on the panels. This was a little strange especially as, in my opinion, some of the best presentations were from Katy Howell, (Immediate Future), Anne Longley (Mediaedge) and Celia Pronto, (STA travel).

I am going to regurgitate some of my notes below and try and pick out some of the highlights.

Morning Session

Alan Moore kicked things off with a good one on how social data is changing the game. He touched on the movement towards a VRM model, something I have recently been reading about and am hoping to get more involved in.

He explained how different business models need to evolve based on networked economics. Towards the end he talked about how are a t the back end of the industrial revolution,  which dehumanised us and made us ‘mass consumers’ and targets of mass media – social technology gives us our individuality back. Nice!

Next up was Neville Hobson (Head of Social Media for WeissComm Group) who co-chaired the event, he spoke about some of the trends he has spotted regarding monitoring for some major brands and what is turning them on such as:-

–          Achieve more for less cost

–          Increased accountability

–          Direct Access to customers

He also made the point that people search for content, not web pages.

Antony Mayfield of icrossing spoke about the importance of activity in networks and not in individual conversations and the need to combine data analysis with storytellers/insights. I agree.

The Girls show us how it’s done

After the break, Ann Longley covered off the business case for social media monitoring. Lots of good insights here to use as ammo next time you are in the boardroom pitching, such as:-

–          Earned media is now more influential than paid

–          Monitor to identify problems. Examples used were kryptonite locks,  and Dominos

–          To identify fans, advocates – examples included Coca-Cola

–          Brand audits – historical as well as future

Anne also touched on that we are beginning to see integration with CRM systems and this will be a big trend in 2010.

Katy Howell put in one of the more engaging presentations while explaining some of the problems with social media adoption in big organisations. Some key takeaways from this were:

–          Introduce social media via stealth!

–          Monitoring is just Step 1. It is a good way to get C-level buy in, but it is essential to overlay other metrics to get a full picture of brand health, business intelligence etc

–          Create a corporate policy for social media. This is so important and a service which many organisations and agencies are neglecting at the moment.

Next Celia Pronto gave the best case study of the day, detailing how STA Travel has been trailblazing. It was useful for everyone to see the theory and buzzwords (don’t broadcast, try to connect, it takes time etc etc) actually put into practice. STA have done a great job with STA travelbuzz, recruiting customers to become reporters and producing some quality content.

The results – Sentiment, up, intent to purchase/recommend, up.

Afternoon Session

After lunch Giles Palmer, (CEO of Brandwatch), took the stage complete with his movember offering on his upper lip! He, animatedly, explained the numerous problems with extracting the meaningful data from the social web. I don’t envy him, and some of the key points were:-

–          Getting the right data is a pain in the arse!

–          Many vendors will buy in the data from aggregators (boardreader, backtype etc)

–          The amount of filtering needed to actively monitor a generic brand name (he used Shell as the eg) is huge.

Giles also thought that the price for the data will increase as access becomes less ie Twitter and Facebook will charge more for access in the future. This was the only point I disagreed with as I believe one of the big boys (Google or Microsoft) will provide the data much, much cheaper once they acquire one of the incumbent vendors.

Brad Little ( Nielsen) was up next discussing Free vs Paid tools.

I enjoyed this one as Brad encouraged everyone to ask the difficult questions of clients before jumping in feet first with tactics and tools. For example:

–          Do they really want to know what is going on, collaborate, be human?

–          What are their objectives? Coverage, save time, give control?

Other key takeaways were:-

–          advocacy will become a key metric

–          good analysis needs big resources in people

–          combine monitoring  with other research methodologies – buzz isn’t enough

–          You need active client participation for success – (Yes and double Yes!)

–          Monitoring – Research – Strategy  – these are different disciplines

A good panel discussion followed on, what was wrong with social media monitoring , including Asi Sharabi, who’s blog post on the same topic, inspired the conference. Some of the main issues discussed were:-

–          60% of UGC is spam. Spam detection needs to be better

–          Sentiment analysis is currently very hit and miss without humans

–          Price can’t be based on volume – has to be a license

–          Workflow & collaboration is a key feature

–          Much of the blame can be placed at procurements door. Clients buying solutions aren’t asking the right questions.

Robin Grant (We Are Social) gave a good case study on the work his agency have done with Skype. I especially liked his Netvibes dashboard which was built in house. My only question here would be how effective that would be for a generic brand name like Shell?

Last up and a late replacement for Chris Thomas was Marshall Sponder (Webmetricsguru) talking about the future and some of his issues with the monitoring vendors such as, they all differ in terms of data output for the same keywords and there is a need for meme clustering for the client (questions, customer service, sales leads etc).

The final panel focussed on the future with Matthaus Krzykowski throwing in that he has seen some industry specific monitoring tools which have up to 90% sentiment accuracy. Plus, more debate on if and when we will start to see some agreed measurement metrics which we can all abide with.

All in all, a success. It will be interesting to see how far we have come at MSM10

More news, pics, links etc from the event can be found here.

Measuring success in social media

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

measuring_success I have been thinking for a while about what constitutes success in social media  and are we still caught up in the old metrics that served display, CPC and before  that, broadcast media? By all accounts (unfortunately I couldn’t make it across  the Atlantic to be there in  person) Katie Paine’s Social Media Measurement:  Establishing ROI (Full  slidedeck is here) was an  excellent presentation and  highlighted how some,  socially optimized,  companies are measuring the hard,    financial metrics that  will directly impact their bottom line. About time too!  She also brings to light  the old metrics which simply won’t (or shouldn’t) cut it  anymore.

Social media measurement has to start web metrics and these non-financial impacts are certainly important. However, as Olivier Blanchard put it, they are like hugs – everyone likes them but they won’t pay the bills! (Olivier also has a pretty awesome slidedeck on social media  ROI here). Impressions, fans, followers, retweets, views etc  don’t, and never will equal success in social media. That only comes with sales, donations, efficiencies, the ability to change sentiment and opinion towards your company. And these can all be measured with a combination of web analytics, social media monitoring, human sweat, corporate financial information…and time.

We, as agencies, consultants, planners or analysts, may have to get ready to be kicked out of a few meetings and turn down the quick money on offer from doing a social media ‘campaign’ or broadcast message. We should focus on the clients who are in it for the long haul, who want social media fully integrated into the marketing strategy, who want their departments (sales, customer service, PR, marketing)  tapping into the same knowledge base and data insights gleaned from social media.

Measurement will always be imperfect when trying tie it squarely back to a purchasing decision but we don’t have to hide behind that and use it as an excuse for not focusing on the difficult problems. Just because the client doesn’t ask for ROI to be measured properly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. We all know if we can show financial and brand building value to an organization then social media will gain a bigger slice of the budgets, which is nice! But, this will also lead to something much more impressive – businesses will become more customer centric.

Let’s face it, no one is curing cancer here, but to think the purpose and value of social media activity is to put the next ‘cool’ video or app in front of as many unsuspecting people as we can is really depressing. If we are in this for one thing that could be considered valuable or ‘game changing’, it has to be the humanizing of business again (Chris Brogan blogs, talks about this all the time). Certainly, that is why I am in this. If we can help businesses care more about their customers and give the consumer a better, more personal, more informative experience with brands then that has to be  a good thing. The only where we are going to get there is if we measure and prove success.


Are Facebook and Nielsen missing the point?

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Having finally decided to put Beacon into the deadpool, Facebook have announced that they will partner with Neilsen for analytics measurement of advertising on the site. The first product, Brandlift, “measures aided awareness, ad recall, message association, brand favorability, and purchase consideration via a set of short one- or two-question online surveys.”

I am slightly confused by this approach. Nielsen is a big, big research player and they have some very cool tools to monitor social media (BuzzMetrics) in real time, so why would they focus on conducting polls to see what users think of the display ads. Let me save you some time – “I don’t notice them…” , “I only click on them by a mistake…”, “I have disabled the ads on Firefox…”, “ They are irrelevant…” “they piss me off…” etc..

If Facebook have made $500m this year from display, surely they are doing a good job already in convincing advertisers that FB is a viable platform? Or is this a play for the bigger, more precious brands to convince them that they should move or increase their spend with Facebook?

I am not keen on display advertising. I agree it still has a role to play in the awareness part of the ‘sales funnel’ but that is about it and it certainly is largely ineffective in social communities. I can’t help thinking Nielsen and FB have missed an opportunity here. Rather than flogging the dead horse that is display advertising, why not focus on gleaning actionable insight into the conversations on FB and peddling that to the big brands?

Because the monitoring software can only access public pages and Facebook would never get away with giving Nielsen access to private pages or conversations, where the real value is?

Is this why Twitter and comments and forums will always be better for real time commercial engagement than Facebook?

Is being a walled garden going to ultimately harm Facebook’s revenue potential as users will never allow brands into their private world and will not engage with display ads?

Interesting times?