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Archive for the ‘Industry events’ Category

What would happen if Google disappeared? In fact what is happening?

August 22nd, 2013



If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Google went down, or disappeared, we had a glimpse into the ensuing digital apocalypse last Friday evening.

Google was offline for two minutes and the impact was a 40% drop in worldwide web traffic.

The event, which began at 23:52 BST on Friday, affected every single service Google offers, including YouTube and Gmail. Everything went dark for between one and five minutes, but was back online by 23:57.

Google’s statement after the issue was as follows: “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50 percent to 70 percent of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after 4 minutes.”

This is a real insight into the importance of Google to the health of the Web. But the story doesn’t end there, in fact there have been other similar outages recently at Microsoft, New York Times, Intel and most recently Amazon.

On Monday, visitors to the US shopping site were greeted with a message saying: “Oops! We’re very sorry,” alongside a “500 Service Unavailable Error” report.

The site returned online about half an hour after the problem was first flagged by users of Reddit. The UK site was unaffected.

The support section of Intel’s website, and some pages which are only accessible to Intel staff, also became unavailable for a period on Monday.

A spokesperson said this was due to an “internal issue” and it was a coincidence that it had occurred shortly after Amazon’s problem.

It’s a laughable notion that this number of major organisations suffering an ‘issue’ within a matter of weeks is a coincidence. However, no one has been able to come up with a reason, or in fact admit responsibility.

I’m sure the truth will come out eventually, but outages on this scale are a rare thing indeed.


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Digital is more important to the UK economy than we realised, but digital representation at board level is lacking

July 26th, 2013



Interesting research out this week shows the importance of digital to the UK economy, and the lack of digital knowledge in the FTSE 100 and 250 organisations that generate a considerable amount of the UK’s wealth.

First let’s deal with the growing importance of digital for the UK economy. According to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR)  The Government’s method of categorising businesses is out of date.

It estimates that there are at least 270,00, and possibly as many as 471,000, companies in the digital economy, rather than the 167,000 calculated by the Government.

Using these new measurements, the digital economy would account for 11% of the UK workforce, rather than 5%, which is a pretty significant shift.

NIESR says the Government’s official Standard Industrial Classification missed out a large number of companies in business and domestic software, architecture, engineering and scientific and technical consulting.

“Why?” I hear you ask, well, it’s all down to that lovely check box many of us have to tick when defining our business: ‘Other’.

Unfortunately, many companies are forced to register as “Other” within their industries because, when the system was conceived in 1948, it was impossible  to imagine what might drive growth in the future.

Typical examples of miscategorised firms include marketing companies, businesses that write specialist software and app developers.

The report also says the revenue reported by digital companies is growing 25% faster than that of traditional firms and that growth in the digital economy is not simply driven by London. Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, Reading, Aberdeen, Milton Keynes and Basingstoke all feature highly.

So if the NIESR is to be believed, the digital economy is stronger than ever, and even stronger than we realised, so it would make sense that digital is now being recognised as an essential element at boardroom level, right? Wrong!

In fact, according to Russell Reynolds Associates, digital-transformation only three of the UK’s top 350 companies have three or more tech-savvy board members. Those three being ARM Holdings, TalkTalk and Telecity Group.

To be fair three or more tech-savvy board members is quite a high target, even though I agree it is necessary.

However, the more worrying stat is that only one in ten of the companies surveyed had “digital representation” on boards, meaning that they had at least one digital member. These include the likes of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, HSBC, BT, Vodafone, Betfair, William Hill and Easyjet.

This leaves 308 of the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies in Britain with no digital board members at all.

To put this into context, the rate of digital non executive board appointments is on the rise, with around 4% of 2012 newly appointed directors in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 having digital backgrounds. However, the UK is still lagging far behind the United States, where 15% of newly appointed Fortune 100 directors in 2012 had digital backgrounds.

It makes sense that digital representation is growing at board level, but as with all business developments, it takes time to get senior representation and that can stifle growth. At a time when the UK is beginning to see small levels of recovery, it’s more important than ever to support our growth sectors.


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Andrew Bruce Smith: proving social media ROI with Google Analytics

March 27th, 2013


Andrew Bruce Smith, Director, Escherman

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.

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Panel: Is quality the forgotten metric?

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, 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

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 flaherty

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

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Lutz Finger: the rise of the influential social media bot

March 27th, 2013


Lutz Finger, Co-Founder, Fisheye Analytics

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.

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Marshall Sponder: making your measurement and analytics tools actually work

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

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Panel: Which social media metrics matter?

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.


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Case Study: PEER 1 hosting and social customer service

March 27th, 2013

Leon chaddock

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

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

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Katy Howell: beyond the final click – true social media attribution

March 27th, 2013


Katy Howell, Managing Director, Immediate Future

We know that we need to start looking at attribution better, to figure out what actually influences our business. If we know that, we can allocate our budgets better.

There are two conflicting ways we can model generating leads from social media. If it was really straightforward, we’d be all bloody doing this now. Again and again we see people running programmes, and then ry to measure it afterwards. You need to plan in advance, and realise that social media is mainly about spreadsheets

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Jacqui Taylor: finding data in the social media explosion

March 27th, 2013


Jacqui Taylor, CEO, Flying Binary

We’re at a tipping point from a web and data point of view. We’ve been through Web 1.0, where companies were skeptical about website, through Web 2.0, where they were skeptical about social media. From a data point of view, we’re at Web 3.0, where social tools enable connections between people. The website is no longer enough. It needs to be blended with social media and other innovations. We’re still just at the beginning.

Gen Y (or Millennials) are an open, collaborative and most of all visual generation. Visualisations of information and data are here to stay.

Gen Z are the 1993 generation – the web generation. They’re just coming into the workforce now. They’re a kinaesthetic generation. They want self-controlled interactivity. They want to create their own stories from information. The Open Data roadmap for the government shows that most requests are from individuals – but it makes all the data available to anyone who wants it.

There’s a land grab in progress. Steer away from ROI – it’s return on influence in our world, if anything. The Arab Spring was actually a challenge to all governments around

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