Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category
April 26th, 2013
After the announcement on Thursday that Britain has avoided a triple-dip recession with the economy expanding more than expected by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, WPP’s results have added additional hope by confirming 2.1% growth in total revenues to £2.5bn.
The UK’s services sector helped to boost gross domestic product (GDP) growth to beat the 0.1% expected by analysts, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. The sector rose 0.6% on the quarter.
WPP’s results are often seen as a key barometer for the marketing/advertising markets, and the latest figures show WPP is running ahead of its own budgets for the first quarter, with a performance in the UK that went against the market trend, growing revenues 3.7% to £318m.
The key North American market, which accounts for 35% of WPP’s total revenues, shrank 1% in the first quarter to £886m.
Elsewhere, Latin America and Asia Pacific grew strongest at 7.8% to £736m, leading WPP to reconfirm that it expects revenue growth for the full year to be about 3%.
Interestingly, WPP said that it has won $1.5bn (£970m) worth of new business from clients in the first quarter, down from $1.85bn in the same quarter last year.
WPP also confirmed that its advertising and media buying operation, which accounts for 41% of total group revenues grew at 3.9% to £1.03bn in the first quarter. Within this the media buying business grew revenues by 7.4% in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, WPP’s public relations and public affairs operations did not do so well, shrinking by 4.1% in the first quarter to £221m.
WPP confirmed that business was “particularly difficult” in North America, western continental Europe and Asia Pacific, but stronger in the UK and Latin America.
Last week, Publicis Groupe reported a first-quarter revenue falls of more than 6% in its European and UK operations.
With recovery likely to be a long and slow road, these figures hardly give cause for mass celebration, and it is yet to be seen if this growth can be sustained. However, growth, especially in the UK, is a positive sign and we need to take the positives in what will be a marathon slog.
April 25th, 2013
Just picked up a shocking infographic from Barclays Bank – not shocking graphically, rather the statistics it shares about the mobile opportunity.
I did not know that only 11 per cent of UK online businesses had mobile-ready apps or mobile websites. 11 per cent? That stunned me – particularly as the bank also advises that the country’s online businesses are growing 57 times faster than the UK economy.
It’s not as though mobile commerce is something very fresh and new; it has been evolving for the past 10 years and this accelerated with the arrival of the Apple iPhone. Almost every marketing-focused article or whitepaper I read now seems to be putting mobile at the very core of strategy.
But then we find that UK online business, not every business in the UK you understand, is not ready.
Anyway, the purpose of an infographic is to deliver useful information in a visual medium so I will leave the rest to the bank’s designers. You can click on the infographic below for the full-size version.
April 14th, 2013
I had the privilege of moderating an excellent webinar last week where Phillip Clement, Marketing and Sales Director of SDL Bemoko presented some great ideas and data how to increase your speed to market with mobile.
Phillip focused on ways to manage customer experience across multiple channels, dealing with the rapid pace of change in technology, the blurring of real with digital worlds and the imperative to control budgets.
The presentation deck was lengthy and packed with excellent info so there is only space here to touch upon some of the themes but you can download it through a link at the end of this post.
Phillip advised on practical ways to simplify mobile and tablet delivery, for marketers to adapt more quickly their campaigns for mobile faster, to manage customer experience across multiple channels and respond to the rapidly changing needs of customers.
He explained that “Doing mobile” is not the challenge; rather the challenge is delivering against expectation, keeping pace with change and breaking down traditional silos – marketing and IT. This necessitated the deployment of the right technology, empowering IT staff, reduce cost and complexity of delivery, speed commercial innovation without compromising resilience and ensure that businesses were always ahead of customer adoption
Phillip advises: “Traditional methods will bog down progress and increase cost, when you are trying to control budgets effectively.”
He believes that early adopters and late to market businesses are now on a level playing field but that customers’ expectations are high and businesses with agile technology platforms will succeed and grow faster than their competition.
Multi-channel or omnichannel marketing is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for brands of all sizes, and the technology engagement layers within these are becoming more complex, including wearable web devices, even “sentient tattoos”.
This is why marketers and IT professionals within companies must find new, more agile ways to communicate.
You can download the SDL Bemoko deck here.
April 12th, 2013
It’s that time again when we look at the latest case study of someone that should know better using social networks to vent personal beliefs/opinions that reflect negatively on their employer.
No prizes for guessing what happens next.
This time, the brand in question is Microsoft, specifically Xbox, and a recent conversation in relation to the next Xbox, which will be released on May 21st, and its probable always-on feature.
For those that are familiar with always-on gaming, it has been far from a smooth path, and games fans are wary of related issues, especially in light of problems with titles such as SimCity and Diablo 3.
In this instance the conversation was U.S. –based where Internet connectivity varies depending on location, and some parents have also expressed worries that an always-on connection would break broadband caps without their knowledge.
The issue began when A creative director at Microsoft, Andrew Orth, appeared to confirm a rumour that the next Xbox will require an always-on internet connection. Orth has been working as a creative director at Microsoft Studios on a game, which is yet to be revealed, since February 2012 and he was involved in a sarcastic exchange about the benefits of being connected. This was seized on by games fans, which in-turn triggered an online debate.
The discussion, which can be seen below, took place between Orth and Manveer Heir, a senior game designer at BioWare. Orth and Manveer are apparently close friends who seem to have been making fun of each other, but sarcasm does not always translate well, especially when Orth commented “why on earth would I live there?” when asked about towns that do not have good levels of connectivity such as Janesville, WI and Blacksburg, VA.
After a week of controversy, Gameinformer reports that Adam Orth has now voluntarily resigned from the company, which had been forced to apologise for his comments and indiscreet references to the new Xbox project, as below:
“We apologise for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday,” said the company.
“This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer-centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.”
This may have been a case of a sarcastic conversation that went wrong, rather than an attack, but the outcome was the same; damage to the brand, resulting in the individual leaving the organisation.
The lesson is simple, Social networks are not private, and anything you write is accessible, so think before you tweet, and remember Twitter Tirades never work!
Read more at:
March 27th, 2013
Google Analytics is ubiquitous – 86% of British businesses have installed it, even if they’re not all using it. It’s free to install – but the true cost is in understanding how to get the most out of it. And it can prove the direct and indirect value of social media.
When you login, you are confronted with a default screen. Social is probably buried in the referral traffic. When you look at it, most people assume that search and PPC drive the most traffic. To get the most out of Google Analytics’ attribution tracking, you need to define some goals. ANY event that happens on a website can be a goal. Few people really define the purpose of a site. Do that, set goals and assign values to them.
Social media has a marriage problem – the priest gets 100% of the credit for the marriage under the last click model. What about the guy who introduced them? Or the restaurant where he proposed? These are the factors you’re looking to draw out.
Those companies that do this see that social is an assistive medium, not a closing one. It’s often an early part of a valuable pattern. One ecommerce site got the majority of its traffic from search – but social delivered people with a higher propensity to buy. If they’d turned off social, their sales would have fallen off a cliff.
We can move away from focusing on top line numbers, and start couching the business case for investing in social media, because you can track both direct and indirect value from social activity.
People rarely take your brand value at face value – that’s when they turn to social. That’s why it’s an assistive medium. People don’t just click on a link and think “I’ll buy that” – but attribution analysis shows that downgrading investment in it is unwise.
March 27th, 2013
Luke Brynley-Jones leads a panel debate, on the idea that quality has been forgotten as a social metric. What do people think?
Sharon Flaherty, head of content & PR, Confused.com: How do you know if anything’s quality content? I get e-mails from people all the time asking me to host their infographic with an embedded link, for SEO purposes. How do I know if it’s quality? Have they done their research? Guest blogging is becoming dangerous, because it’s all about SEO.
Lutz Finger, co-founder of Fisheye Analytics: You need to act like a journalist. People used to hail that social networks got way from the gatekeepers. That means that people need to act like journalists to verify the quality of content. There is a need for it. It’s an interesting cycle backwards.
Robin Grant, managing director, We Are Social: What defines a quality fan base? Raw numbers don’t cut it. Engagement is arguably a better number – because surely only quality content would attract engagement? Well, possibly not. Are pictures of tomato ketchup – which get great engagement – actually having any impact on the brand? It’s almost impossible to track that. You can have facile, lightweight engagement.
Katie Howell, MD, Immediate Future: It’s about layers. There are a whole series of layers – but I totally disagree that you need a journalist. There are different skills needed. People need to understand their audience in detail, and what the purpose of the content is. Most journalists aren’t trained in that. If you get into optimisation, you figure out how to add another action to engagement. The rhetoric is that social media is a conversation. With one of our B2B clients, the best performance is where there’s no conversation.
Sharon: We got into content seriously when the Mayday update pushed us to page 2 of Google. It worked, but it took two years. We use Google Analytics, and have it in the place that they can track people’s journeys from the content they land on through the site.
Lutz: What we measure needs to have an aim. If you don’t have that, you can’t build measurement. Quality is “quality for a certain aim”. If I’m trying to sell my book, I’m giving speeches that get people to sign up for information on my book. If they sign up, it was good content. LinkedIn endorsements immediately triggered companies offering endorsement bots. What makes an important person? My wife and kids are important to me…
Robin: “What’s the worth of a Facebook an” may be a tedious question, but it’s important and can be answered. For Bulmer’s we figured out it was worth about £200 per annum. There’s a lot you can do to understand the value of segments of your audience.
Sharon: You should start from the point that everything you produce is the best you could produce. Then it’s just a question of how you slice and dice it. Our no claims bonus guide is boring to me – but its a huge driver of traffic and conversion. Is that quality? Yes.
Katie: Platforms are forcing us down certain paths when it comes to content creation.
Robin: Relevance is user-centric, and applies to any form of engagement. Quality is something that drives something meaningful for the brand. It’s a subset of relevant.
Sharon: We all understand relevance, and we all think that. t’s about making sure you have relevant content, but with quality at the same time.
Lutz: You need relevant content to trigger actions. Quality is subjective, relevancy is the one link throughout.
March 27th, 2013
There are fake social media profile out there. Why? What’s their business model? That’s what I want to discuss.
7% of Tweets are fake. This are not spam – these are friend. 20% of us accept friend requests from people we don’t know and check out. Once these guys are in and talk to you – they’re good. They have personality. This army of bots is with $2.76m. Can an army of bots be the new influencers.
The first generation of bots were just spammers going social. They’re cheap and easy to create. The post messages very fast. They’re basically shouting. But their conversion rate is 1:1.25 million. That’s a terrible conversion rate. They’re also easy to spot. They have few friends, they over-use hashtags, they post all the time, or in bursts, and they are lonely. Their only friends are other bots. Twitter has acted and spam dropped from 10% of a Twitter traffic to 2% between Feb 2009 and Feb 2010.
But by 2011 only 20% of fake Facebook accounts are being detected. Twitter is suing spammers. But the business mddl is changing – bots are being used for smear campaigns. Many politicians have had sudden spikes in followers, that are clearly fake. These weren’t bought by the person in question – they were assigned by their opponents, looking to make them look desperate.
Spammer are learning, too. So bots 2.0 are learning to be social. They aim to be your friends and then to build trust – and through that, influence. Could they create mass movements? Social media allows things to become contagious. It’s easy to use, and people can “support” things with a click. But can people be influenced? The idea of the influential person isn’t true. Humankind is so stupid as to follow just a single person.
Single data points – like Kimmel talking about the double rainbow video – don’t disprove this. They can’t repeat that phenomenon.
People’s willingness to be influences is topic dependent, for example, people influence each other on classical music, but not indeie or alt music, research shows. Influence is often homophilia in reality. Book and hotel reviews are used by 22% of people – but 40% of those reviews are fake. We like to hear things from multiple sources – 50% of people get their news online -= but 55% of journalists rely on social media for stories, and aren’t great at verifying…
We’re in an arms race, and we need to ensure we don’t train bots anymore. OKCupid is a data-heavy dating service. The more thy shut down bots, the more they train them. So they don’t do that any more – they just move the bots into a secondary world, just full of bots.
March 27th, 2013
Marshall Sponder, Analyst and Metrics Consultant
Ultraviolet data is the data that’s all around us, but which we don’t see and thus don’t use. How can we capture this data, and is it worth it? The data we need is often the data we already have.
In the 1950s and 60s we had big computers and structured data. In the 1990s the personal computer led to a shift towards unstructured data. How much do you want to look into that big pot of data? How much value does it have to you? I have so much unstructured data now, I have to decide (as a company) what I’m going to look at, and what questions I need to ask myself before I look at it. We’ll soon be living in a work where lifestyle choices make you a less desirable person, because you can use the data to figure this out.
In the social space, for every new channel there are now forms of analytics. Your level of investment in platforms in this is going to be defined by your business needs and business size. You need data, and you need to understand the business problem it could solve – and then you pay for the workflow. As your sophistication increases, so too will your investment.
Most marketing implementations are a mess – a mass of platforms that don’t talk well to each other. The biggest challenge is hooking up motoring, social CRM and engagement tools so that the information starts making sense. Things like Google Glass are just going to create more and more data, which means more and more platforms will emerge to analyse that data… All the platforms are trying to do everything – but they don’t all do everything equally well, so you might have to buy a couple of them to get what you need. USe cases dictate the features, but because everyone is chasing the same customers, they’re all claiming to have all features. The danger is that you end up using two systems that do the same thing.
Somemo - a framework that looks at listening platforms from the standpoint of the user. Two thirds of people buying these platforms are internal or external agencies. People are looking at the wrong reasons: the metrics and the interface. All the vendors are targeting the 6.6% who spend more than $10,000 a month on tools. Over 50% want to spend under $100 a month…
Nearly 66% of people end up unhappy with their platform…
You need to understand where you’re at, to understand what you can do with data. Do that, and you’ll make better choices…
March 27th, 2013
Conferences are full of award-winning social media campaigns, but no chairman is starting a company report celebrating a fourfold increase in Retweets – how can we connect the coal face with the boardroom, asks Philip Sheldrake of Euler Partners, chairman of the panel.
Andrew Bruce Smith, Escherman: Obviously, the best metrics are the ones that most match our business goals. Olivier Blanchard is a big advocate of ROI as pure cash. Our industry is wallowing in non-cash metrics, so no wonder we’re struggling to make the business case.
Jacqui Taylor: For me, it’s about context. What do the massive numbers Obama’s team pout out about the economy actually mean? That’s why we create blended teams. Metrics evolve on from KPIs – but it’s certainly not Likes. Completely disagrees on ROI. Social data’s actually the key – but nobody will believe us for five years.
Matt Owen, eConsultancy: Money is what matters to the board. Those of us working on this are still looking at last click attribution. Likes and follows are vanity metrics – you can buy them – it’s all about targeting.
Vanity Measures and the attraction of big numbers
Sharon from confused.com: Is using promoted tweets vanity?
Matt: We used them for about six months. A lot of them are really badly targeted. If you have the time and inclination, you can target really well. $15,000 went in and $70,000 came out.
Andrew: A very large multi-national brand created a Facebook page and got 60,000 Likes in a few months – and the UK division was told to do the same. The UK agency had a strong suspicion that those Likes had been bought. The reaction? “Find me the cheapest place to buy Likes…” The board demands big numbers, so all they wanted was to provide them.
Katie: What if all the readers of a newspaper called you at once? What if all your followers do? If you can’t give a good business reason for big numbers, why should you do it?
Jacqui: Everybody who is involved in social is everyone in the company. It’s not just about social media specialists. Just look at the leaks from the company, look at everyone’s social media accounts. It’s a layer that goes across the organising. People are recognising that the power in the company is the people. We find hot spots and cold spots across the company, and socialise the best practice from the hot spots. The best evangelists you’ve got are your people.
Philip: Social media in most cases is still just lipstick on a pig.
Matt: Most companies still see social just as a marketing function. I think marketing is a function of social media.
Andrew: PR has always been under-invested, because it’s so hard to prove attribution. 90% of media consumption is done through a screen. Print is maybe 4%. Much social mica starts on a phone – we’re in a social and mobile world.
Katie: Here’s the thing: PR used to be about improving your relationship with stakeholders, which was difficult to monetize. But now you can monitor the health of relationships. You can watch the relationship with your CRM, or some other tool. IF you forget the attribution point, you can measure contribution to the health of relationships. You can divide relationship metrics, and apply it to social media.
Jacqui: Social isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. There are strands to it, like there are in your DNA. You need to rebuild your company around it. This is not companies who hire based on Klout score. It’s about companies who create their businesses around social data. The groundwork still needs to be done – connecting resources is pretty hard even with board-level support.
Social Media ROI
Philip: Is ROI just a question people asked when they are scared? Why do C-suite people never ask for the ROI of mowing the lawn?
Katie: Every single day there are social media people doing cost benefit analysis. There are financial acceptable ways of measuring this – what’s the cost of doing something with or without something – and the impact?
Matt: Any return on social media is just a base minimum, because it’s only the direct rests. You can’t track recommendation and word of mouth in the same way. A lot of our metrics are actually guides.
Jacqui: Very few decisions are evidence-based. One CEO asked how many people worked for his bank. It took six days, and he got four different numbers… This is an investment from a long-term point of view. We build a community. We’ll get more sophisticated over time, and start having real returns. But it needs to be a continual investment, and you can’t just dip in and out of the metrics.
Philip is calling for comments and feedback on Influence monitoring work on his blog
March 27th, 2013
Leon Chaddock, Sentiment Metrics
Leon quickly introduces his tool, which was the basis of PEER 1‘s social media monitoring work. The company was founded in 2005, started as blog monitoring and has expanded to social media monitoring. Often works through resellers, and concentrates on social customer experience and service helping businesses learn from customer conversations. They’re aiming to be a single, joined-up tool.
Maria Jose Serres, PEER 1
What does the biggest host in the world do when it knows that there are people talking about it on social media – some of them complaining, some of them potential leads? When they know the people they want to recruit are out there? They started listening – using sentiment metrics. But they needed a strategy, because without that they couldn’t measure. So they decided to connect the conversations they were finding with the right people in the company.
They used Sentiment Metrics to filter the conversations happening and target the ones they could actually act on. Complaints, for example, could be engaged with by directing information on service status to them. When people are angry, the first thing they do is tweet. The tool allowed them to find discussions buried in forums. They identified 55 sales leads with £800,000 in March. 10 complaints which could damage their reputation were dealt with.