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August 20, 2008

Social Media Analysis and Tracking

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No time for chatter–let’s jump right in. Marshall Sponder (Monster.com) moderates, Breanna Wigle (Military Advantage), Edmund Wong (iCrossing), Todd Parsons (BuzzLogic.com) and Rob Key (Converseon) speak.

Marshall, who we met yesterday in the Analytics 2.0 panel, introduces himself and the panelists. He’s got a short presentation to explain the session. It’s possible to categorize referrers for social media attribution and find out how much is coming from where. Don’t count hybrid sites like a news site with a social aspect. Stick to the pure sites for analysis. You can use ComScore to measure social traffic as well. Just use the conversational media category. It’s just meant for research, not actual traffic but you can learn from it. He thinks that we should be able to let Google do it for you as well. Google already knows what sites are blogs and could segment data from a site from Social Media. It would be easy for them. Um, kay.

He repeats that he thinks that CMOs are going to be Web analysts in the future. It’s so important to bake in analytics right from the very beginning. Right now Social Media has no set place in most organizations, ROI is difficult but not impossible to prove.

Web 2.0 is about empowering users. Measurement is in conversations/engagement, Traffic/ROI much more subtle but still measurable.

Rob Key is our first speaker. He utters my most hated phrase “I have a lot of slides and I’m going to try and go through kind of quickly.” Noooooo!

Stats! Lots of them! 45 percent of adults have created content online. There are 1.2 million blog posts a day! Other numbers as well! [That's all I got.]

Social media is growing and infecting search as well.

How do you design a social media strategy? Listen to what people are saying, engage them, and then measure and optimize.

Listen: Conversation mining helps marketers promote and protect their brand through the measurement of analysis of online…something. Please slow down, Rob.

The conversation is iceberg like. The top twenty results in the search engines are what’s above the waterline. You want to mine deeper than that. There’s so many avenues out there that aren’t ranking that you need to dig into.

Look at:
How are people feeling about our brand?
Who are the most influential voices?
How effectively are we contributing or not to the conversation
Who should we cooperate with?
And more questions as well.

You need to see who the influentials are in the space because then you can see who you need to partner with or counter. Your own contribution is usually about 10 to 12 percent.

What’s the sentiment and the tone of the conversation by relationship? Positive, negative? It helps inform conversations and response.

Look at your cloud tags and look at it compared to the way that you talk about yourself. When you do this eh right way you can find out about yourself.

You can’t just rely on automated solutions. You need human intervention when you’re categorizing it.

How do you use it?

As an extension of customer service. With people complaining about products all over the Web, you can go in and use this as a marketing opportunity to salvage or turn around the situation. Avoid Dell hell type listings.

[About six charts fly by in 30 seconds. Oh help]

Where does this all go? We’re still evolving. Trending is the bleeding edge now. It’s not just data at the moment, it’s looking at how the conversation is changing over time. We’ll see some flattening of capabilities. Everyone’s going to become better at this in the future. The other thing is that people will start to see the grand unified vision of data and you’ll be able to get a bigger picture of your whole organizations.

How do you find the meaning the measurement? That’s the next critical step.

Breanna Wigle and Todd Parsons are going to present a case study for Breanna’s site: Military.com. They’re going to be switching back and forth throughout the presentation.

Breanna goes through some background on Military.com–they reach out through blogs and connecting people. They’re trying to enable communities to connect, not trying to create them. They found that social media traffic converts 6 percent better than non-social media traffic and have a higher time on site.

The goal of their campaign was to increase product awareness to new influencers and their audiences and to convert visitors into RSS and Newsletter subscribers. The challenge was the long tail and that it was hard to find the influencers because the fragmentation was very high.

They partnered with BuzzLogic for that. Todd says BL isolates and ranks influential content in social media across topics and serve ads within that influential content. They consider credibility, relevance and more in their algorithm.

Step 1: Uncover conversations.
Step 2: Rank the influencers.
Step 3: Identify influencer networks for ad placement and follow influence paths

In social media advertising, the creative is critical. It must be Compelling, Informative and have a Clear call to action.

Breanna steps back up. Results: 86 percent higher CTR compared to historical average for targeted banner campaigns. Conversions increased 5.3 percent in RSS subscriptions and Newsletter subscriptions. 90 percent were new visitors during the campaign, 60 percent higher than site average. There was a lift in time on site as well.

Todd–

Key observations and learnings:

  • Active conversations about specific topics attract passionate audiences. Highly targeted display ads can perform well in this environment
  • Social search is different than Web search and traditional site targeting — it’s about sourcing information via what “trusted” people are referring to. This can get you closer to “search” like intent.
  • Influencers and their network relationships – the nature of linking connection matter when it comes to ad performance. Sites that connect to each other around specific topic are key targets
  • Conversations offer a new window in analyzing user psychology and intent — the nature of the conversation can impact as performance.

The more personal the experience, the more likely you are to subscribe to something.

Is there enough inventory out there? Todd thinks so and that it’s mostly untapped. The question is finding quality inventory.

How does it compare price wise? It varies. In general it’s less expensive to advertise on blogs.

Edmund Wong is up next. He’s looking at developing a social media engagement measurement framework, looking at the customer experience and how to improve it.

Another case study. Tech forum engagement. Their goal was to be useful and helpful, not to sell a product and instead overtime improve perception of the brand. Natural search ended up driving significant long term brand impressions on accumulated postings. Measurement is key but standard ROI measure doesn’t work in social media. Measure things that make sense for the campaign–postings, tonality, number of links, amount of traffic from the links, number of conversations engaged.

Quote from Clive Thompson: “Google isn’t a search engine, it’s a reputation management system.”

Since many forums are optimized for search, engagement is highly visible. Forever. Traffic increased over time from the posting a year prior. SEO continues to drive new page views.

They took a look at what they COULD address and what they COULDN’T. They didn’t fight battles that they couldn’t win whether it was ‘what should I buy’ or customer sentiment issues.

They used it to identify issues on the site as well and were able to correct customer confusion.

Key Takeaways:

  • There’s no one killer metric for social media
  • Track anything possible to glean insights
  • Not just about numbers
  • It’s all relative (focus on benchmarking and trends)
  • Measuring social media does not equal ROI for social media
  • View social media as the world’s largest focus group.

Q&A

How do you get people to join your group on Facebook?

Edmund: You have to figure out what your end customers actually need and what you can offer them. Get out there and show engagement. What’s the useful and interesting aspects.

Rob: Ask not what the community can do for you, ask what you can do for the community.

What do you do with imposters?

Todd: Did you out the imposter? Yes? Then the social media democracy will take care of it.

Rob: Look at Jeremiah Oywang’s post on companies on Twitter. Transparency is key.

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3 responses to “Social Media Analysis and Tracking”

  1. Marshall Sponder writes:

    Thanks for the coverage of my session – it was really good, I think you caught everything important.

    How’d you like it?

  2. Susan Esparza writes:

    Thanks, Marshall! I thought it was a really interesting session. Definitely not the same old thing that you usually see in social media panels. I would have liked to heard a few more learnings from the panelists on what their case studies meant, not just what happened but I definitely thought it was a great panel.

  3. Josh writes:

    Nice writeup of the session.



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