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My Blogger Friends
Today at econsultancy’s digital cream, digital marketers, social media – ites, search – ites, and web analytics ites thronged together and debated. It was actually fascinating and informative so a big thank you to econsultancy for organising it and to all the staff for being so helpful. ( I just got back from just over two weeks holiday in Playacar and in the yucatan in Mexico – the photo is Tulum).
I went to the web analytics roundtable in the morning and the social media roundtable in the afternoon. At each, there were 7 senior marketers and a moderator all talking out their strategy, sharing ideas and revealing what they want to do. To the extent that competitors were even opening up and talking quite honestly about plans and site features that hadn’t even been launched yet.
As web analytics continues to shift into marketing optimisation, the big solutions like omniture and web trends differentiate by offering integrated multi-variate testing, behavioural targeting and integration in and out with external email solutions or databases so you only need one place to your fully integrated picture of what’s going on with your company,
Buy a web analytics tool first or hire the skilled web analytics person? Better to hire the right person first and use a free tool than spend the money on the tool without having the right person to get the analysis and insights out of it.
Social media is so fast moving. Yet for many companies there is still caution and worries about security, brand awareness and even how to measure it’s impact.
I know I’ve missed things out so get in touch if you have any thoughts about the event.
With my web analytics association social media hat on, this week I was at the Virtual Worlds Conference, there was much talk of what brands are doing in these worlds such as Second life, Habbo Hotel and There.com. These worlds are constantly and quickly adapting given the competitive landscape, the nature of the internet and other services competing for visitor time.
The CEO of Habbo Hotels Timo Soininen when asked what’s new in Habbo Hotel, didn’t talk about new features, star appearances or new contests. His main point was monthly consumer updates to Habbo Hotel based on what’s going on, metrics and user feedback. Their main focus is to make the user experience as easy as possible and make it as easy as possible to get into the world.
“We’ve moved into a Scrum development process and agile development,” Soininen explained. “We like to think we know where we’re heading and sort of the big picture, but the road map really is only up to four months. We look at what’s going on and the metrics and the user feedback that we get and sort of go in monthly consumer update. We release something to the world, back end changes, navigation changes, item updates, on a monthly basis. We’re able to respond quickly.”
“We used to have a really traditional approach where you sit at a drawing board and spec it out and then hopefully after a few months, what you predicted back then is still valid,” he continued. “Given the nature of the Internet and the whole competitive landscape and other services competing for kids time, you have to do (a faster development process). I think you get much more meaningful results.”
The one plan Soininen could lay out for 6-8 months from now was a goal to dramatically simplify the website for Habbo Hotel. There will be some changes to the world itself planned in, but the majority of changes will apparently be to the Web interface to make it easier to actually get into the world.
“Basically what we’re going to do, in the spirit of simplicity is to make sure the first user experience is as pleasant as possible so that when the user enters the world, he or she has as easy a time as possible finding like-minded people,” Soininen said. “I think the really important thing for these casual worlds is to make the joining as casual as possible and not to go into a cumbersome registration process. We’re looking at that, but really focusing on the virtual world. And also giving users a sort of dashboard about their status in the virtual world. So the next time they come in, they see automatically what’s going on and what’s happened.”
Mike Wilson, found of Makena Technologies, creator or 3D virtual world There.com, mentioned about the successful engagements they have created for brands on their world. They built a special area for Capitol Music Group artists such as Beastie Boys, Korn and Lily Allen to make live appearances, for the entire record brand, not just one band. They are having success with brands because their world is PG-13, so brands don’t have to worry about dubious content appearing alongside them. Also, There.com can take the brand and put them where the highest traffic is, rather than being on their own private island.
Second Life founder, Philip Rosendale, waxed lyrically about the ability for virtual worlds to involve customers and have them join in the creative experience within a social context. For exmaple Toyota Scion and Pontiac offere fully customisable cars in Second Life. Similarly, for a CSI episode filmed in Second Life where visitors can solve their own murder mystery in Second Life. The episode went live this week to the total potential audience of CSI and can handle 20,000 players. See the CSI Second Life episode on the CBS website for a demo here.
To conclude, interesting and engaging things are happening in virtual worlds (have you designed your avatar yet?). Worlds like Habbo Hotel are admitting to using metrics and user feedback to create fast one month turn arounds on consumer updates of the world (virtual worlds analytics). Others spoke of the how virtual worlds allow audience and fanbase to go to the next level of immersion with the brand, so that they can step into the brand and become part of it. Brand immersion has been undervalued in the last five years. We see it as moving on the engagement from conversation to an actual relationship with the consumer, hence the interesting brand experiences such as CSI, Toyota, Renault Formula One and other stories.
Consumer Generated Media (“CGM”) is the term that encompasses all social media content on the Internet authored by consumers. This content ranges from blogs, to social networks, consumer review sites, message boards, and videos.
Social networking and connecting with customers is all the buzz, for example yesterday Forrester Research did a webcast on “Know your Customers’ Social Technographics and Craft the Right Social Marketing Strategy” with Charlene Li from Forrester. She shared her insights on understanding ones target audience attitudes and behaviors towards social technologies in order to craft the right social marketing strategy. These are great calls for marketers to learn more about getting their arms around social media, listening to the voice of the customer and engagement with consumers in social media.
Jeremiah, a fellow web analytics association social media committee member, is a social media stategist and gives us outlines of how to approach positioning one’s company in the wider social media ecosystem. From a web analytics perspective, how does one even begin to gauge the influence of these conversations on one’s brand?
Social media technographics report by Forrester research.
Some other stats, from Pew Internet and Jupiter research:
One blog is created every minute
27% (32M) read blogs
22% (27M) post reviews/ comments
44% (53m) are content creators(running own blogs/sites, posting messages).
There are more than 1.5 billion comments per day, the collective voice of the consumer to influence brands and buying strategy has never been stronger and will continue to be strong.
There have recently appeared in the market, applications, such as Visible Technologies TruCast that enable companies to monitor social media conversations, gain valuable insights, and even engage with consumers in order to better allow companies to manage their brands online on social media sites. For companies, these online conversations represent a new opportunity and challenge for brand monitoring, reputation management, word-of-mouth marketing, and consumer engagement.
This is pretty powerful stuff, the ability to segment one’s potential customers by feeling and tone and message from the enormous pool of social media sites.
I wonder how scalable this tool or any tool is, because eventually with the increase of the blogosphere appearing to be exponential how much data will their databases be able to handle?
But assuming all social media data on the Internet, posts and comments are collected in a database with multi-tiered querying – there would be some pretty powerful information.
Influence engagement metrics and advanced analytics:
Identifies the most influential consumers for a particular topic or issue
Determines the sub-topics of conversations
Interactive dashboard allows clients to determine specific sites and authors wielding the most influence in conversations.
What are they talking about (sentiment) scores:
For example, their intelligent sentiment technology evaluates the positive and negative sentiment and tone of conversations. Users establish sentiment criteria by scoring a sample of data, and TruCast automatically scores the rest. I’d like to put this to the test.
There are others such as Pythia which give trended social media data for free, so even for SMEs there are tools which can help.
I personally think the idea of engagement metrics within the context of the broader social media ecosystem and putting it to use to be able to positively impact on managing one’s company’s brand, social media reputation management, is something that we will all be doing in the not too distant future.
Any thoughts or questions or disagreements, please let the web analytics princess know.
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