February 19th, 2013 by Sten Franke
Recently, I was guest speaker at the APG Mindcracker workshop, which took place for the first time in this form. Besides the beautiful location at Google in Berlin and the good organization (thanks to the entire local team, especially Sebastian Krowarz from Ogilvy) especially the lectures (Prof. Ulrich Weinberg from Hasso Plattner Institute – Design Thinking, Anne Beuttenmüller from Google – Google Tools, Stefan Erschwendner – Customer Development and (me) Sten Franke – Automated Sentiment Analysis by gridmaster – Reach, Relevance, Resonance) were very exciting and rewarded by all participants with a great collaborative workshop atmosphere (THX ALL!).
After an extensive introduction into the market, tools and fields for Social Media Monitoring & Listening, we intensively discussed the challenges of Sentiment Analysis, in particular the depth of knowledge in the so-called Social Media Listening Tools. The result of all participants was fairly clear and can be summarized as follows:
Learning: Most of the listening tools do not exceed Buzz-Tracking and therefore do not offer the opportunity to generate important consumer insights. Marketing managers want to know, what really moves their fans and costumers.
Ergo: One cannot avoid a (monetary / temporal) investment in a significant study design (wide concept and theme worlds) and technological solutions which it can process.
Trend: The era of Social Media Listening solutions, which accumulate masses of irrelevant and often redundant hits in the form of unstructured buzz, is slowly coming to an end. Qualitive insights are wanted – less is more!
Since the official launch of our new gridmaster (V3.0) Social Media Intelligence Tools is still pending, I would like to publish a screenshot at this point – as I presented at the workshop.
Our goal is to enable all agencys, companys, and organisations a cost-efficient, coherent and established analysis of their target group, their platforms, their talks and topics, as well as the latest trends. // Generation quantitative and qualitative consumer insights.//
June 7th, 2012 by Sten Franke
As soon as a McKinsey-study names big data, digital marketing / social media, and cloud computing as megatrends, it will be recognized among most old economy enterprises. A recent investigation by the consulting firm concludes that most C-level executives see foremost three key trends in the digital business:
- Big data and an appropriate analysis of the data
- Digital marketing and corresponding social media tools
- Usage of new platforms like cloud computing and other mobile offers
The expectancies to these three mega trends are high. For instance a third of the questioned believe, via the mentioned trends operational revenue can be increased by more than 10 percent. Managers of privately held businesses expect an even bigger growth potential than their colleagues at companies or publicly held organizations. 39 percent of the “privates” see a growth of over 10 percent thanks to the three above defined trends. At public decision-makers this figure is only 24 percent.
How strong the pressure in these trends is can be seen by the fact that more than half of the respondents said, at least two of the three trends are among the top ten of their strategic business objectives in the coming years. The digital marketing, as well as big data, already belongs to top 3 priorities at 25 percent of all companies.
It may be interesting, whether the planned investigations can cope with the reputed reality. A mere 25 percent of the interviewed declare that more than 3 percent of the company budget is allocated to the digital business. For 29 percent this value only is 0.9 percent.
Tantalizing: A third considers the planned investments as sufficient. However, a half is speaking of too little financial resources.
The actual benefit businesses want to extract out of the three mega trends are – logically – widely varied. E.g. in the big data sector 49 percent state they will focus on customer insights. In digital marketing predominantly it is about further integrating consumers in the field of social media.
At the end of a highly appealing study the authors give an outlook: They see numerous challenges enterprises will have to face. „Also required is a new approach to managing talent by utilizing flexible team structures, engaging outside collaborators, and increasing corporate tolerance for failure.“
Based on my experience and variable discussions I had with executives of companies, brands, and agencies I assess the situation of Germany’s market as follows:
- More than 95% of the businesses will lag behind these mega trends, although the topics have gained awareness in the top management. Most of the times their relevance is being rated down, although. Owing to a lack of know-how they are not being approached or rather realized consequently. The jeopardy especially for exporting companies is very high, as they, first, disregard the chance to strengthen their leading position in the market, and second, risk to lose ground to direct, more innovative contenders in the global competition.
- The budgets for digital marketing have increased the past years, although far away of what would have been necessary to comply with the altered patterns of media usage of consumers. Established B2C-brands bet on modeling tools to fathom budget allocation best, although the tools often miss the input of social media data. When it comes to the creative realization, in my view too often the antique sender-receiver principle is being applied. A good bit of the digital budget is allotted to further development and launch of websites, while the initiation of branded communities in social networks is neglected. Too little significance is given to the important community management.
- Sure, big data is a hype topic in the media, but yet hasn’t arrived in the daily business. First tries to mount and interpret the massive data treasure can be identified, mostly in the US, where intern data are combined with consumer insights generated in social media, and so increasing the efficiency and output of campaigns. In Germany many companies still are in search of an argumentation to conduct a first professional social media analysis, above all against the background of identifying emerging crises. To get access to the nuggets – the customer insights – more than monitoring of keywords is needed. High analytical and technological competence, considerable comprehension of how consumers think nowadays, and which marketing tools deliver best leads is what it takes.
Conclusion: Indeed, most businesses will have a hard time building the required know-how, and the appropriate structures, in an acceptable time frame. That’s why top management will buy the competences externally. Ergo, service and solution providers in the above mentioned sectors may look forward to above average raising budgets in the coming years.
May 14th, 2012 by Mathias Buerk
Good numbers, bad numbers: Two recent studies are the first to offer a comprehensive overview of the status quo of Germany’s businesses’ social media efforts.
For instance our industry’s association Bitkom found out that 47 percent of the 3,6 Mio businesses in Germany uses Facebook, Twitter, or Blogs. “This number at first sight doesn’t look bad”, net economist Holger Schmidt writes. “How little serious businesses take social media can be seen in staff numbers”. Another result of the survey is that 80 percent of the businesses leave their social media management to only one or two employees.
Graphic “Social Media Campaign – The Big Idea”
“Especially low the staff numbers are in manufacturing sector, while relatively moderate in the service industry”, Schmidt writes. What is missing most is a clear-cut organizational structure and the lack of any goals or rather Key Performance Indicator’s (KPI’s). “Two thirds of those questioned didn’t delineate definite goals of what should be achieved. Even in harsh antagonism to the means applied, the expectancies are high: Almost 90 percent of enterprises assume increasing relevance of social media.”
Especially the lack of KPI’s might constitute a serious problem soon, as only distinct indicators measuring and analyzing success and impact of social media campaigns, allow to seriously calculate the Return on Investment (ROI). Indispensable to it logically is a solid social media monitoring evaluating the respective KPI’s (gridmaster KPI Dashboard).
The current inquiry “Turning Buzz into Gold” by business consultancy McKinsey & Company details out, how big the need to catch up in the German economy is. Only 37 percent of the businesses communication via Facbook, Twitter, and blogs defined KPI’s for their social media usage. A mere 20 percent measure the ROI.
The hopes lying on social media, nevertheless, are very high. 71 percent of the 200 businesses that have been asked in the survey speculate on a “significant profit potential”.
However, most companies remain realistic in terms of their status que. E.g. only 10 percent of the German businesses believe they can increase their results with their actual social media activities.
The solution: Companies have to invest in manpower and monitoring. Only this way the particular activities can be improved and their success measured.
May 2nd, 2012 by Sten Franke
A literally beautiful mapping and monitoring tool for Twitter: Mentionmapp. Professionals will hardly take it seriously. Nevertheless it looks damn cool and is fun to web and marketing experts – at least for the moment.
Vancouver-based Mentionmapp does one thing alone: It designs a graphic out of the tweets, replys, and retweets of a twitter profile. This way a visual overview of your personal micro-blogging communication is generated. Well done: When clicking on another twitter-user in your map, his 140 character communication is shown.
Contrary to many similar offerings not only your own personal twitter account can be analyzed and picturized, Mentionmapp also draws each different twitter account you wish. Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, you just need to type their twitter account into the search field, and the tool draws their twitter maps. This function can be quite useful to monitoring professionals, who want to get a glimpse on their competitors.
Mentionmapp still is in Beta status, but a demanded business for long. It already has been acquired by OverInteractive Media Inc. The Vision of the Canadians: „Take information beyond columns and rows, graphs and charts and create engaging interactive data stories.“
When they succeed in living up to their vision, we can look forward to many more great tools!
March 27th, 2012 by Sten Franke
Google has identified the signs of the time. The question to Return on Investment (ROI) in social media campaigns probably is one of the most important topics this year, as many enterprises crave for simple and working solutions.
For instance a recent research by Iron Mountain concludes that most European businesses yet don’t know how to handle data of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. “Indeed 94% of the questioned German companies (Europe: 86%) are aware to file communication in the social media channels as a formal business process” the paper states, but “at the same time 72% of the German businesses (Europe: 63%) don’t consider themselves as capable to capture the shared data and information of social networks accordingly”.
In fact tools and solutions that measure the ROI of almost all social media campaigns exist for long. Our gridmaster is an example to mention here.
Offers like ours and those of other monitoring tools satisfy an ever growing need. Google wants to have their share of the market and consequently drill with Google Analytics. Soon it is supposed to measure ROI, only on least significant sources like Blogger.com, however. It cannot perform a deeper analysis of top players like Facebook or Twitter yet.
“Google Analytics claims to close the gap between social media and hard business KPI’s”, t3n writes. “It shall be accomplished by not only measuring the traffic that arrives via different social media channels, but also tracking it further.” That’s how direct inferences onto conversion rates become possible.
Though, the ROI is only one side of the coin, the other are Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). They cannot be neglected in relevant and traceable measurements of success of social media campaigns. If you want to quantify the latter, Google Analytics doesn’t help you yet. Then you better turn to established monitoring tools, like our gridmaster for instance. They can assess buzz, demography, sentiments and semantic data on top of it. Only they enable you to place activities sustainable and targeted. Considered globally it’s all about the increase of brand awareness, sales, profit, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Still countless businesses evaluate the success of their social media campaigns with the mere mass of the three f’s: Friends, Followers, and Fans. Whether on Facebook or Twitter – the bare amount of them doesn’t indicate their interaction rate.
The new Google tool apparently can’t handle the Standard KPI’s. I.e the new tool only touches the surface of social media data. As easy to navigate Google Analytics may be, it can’t replace a complex professional tool. Indeed, the new service of the web company can possibly give the lots of rudimentary monitoring offerings lacking depth a hard time.
March 23rd, 2012 by Sten Franke
A topic has been neglected a little in the many discussions about social media ROI’s or the proper direction of social media campaigns that is of immense importance to businesses, especially in the social web: the credibility or online reputation.
Every company that takes care of their image and web awareness is using social media monitoring tools like the gridmaster for long in order to be sensitive of their actual online reputation and to be able to identify those issues that could worsen it. Microsoft, in collaboration with the American Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, published an interesting study to this topic.
The scientists and the software architect examined which factors determine the credibility of a tweet or its twitterer. Briefly: the determining factors are the profile picture, the follower, and the quantity of orthographic and grammatical mistakes.
In respect of the profile picture those users are trusted the least that use the standard twitter-egg. Following this are pictures of avatars or cartoons. Ranking on top regarding the credibility are twitterers who use photos showing themselves. “Concerning the name, users trust those twitterers most with a topic-related name, ordinary names coming next, and the least trust is put into users having internet fantasy names”, WirtschaftsWoche summarizes a further result of the study.
Additionally, the amount of followers is important. Twitterers following more accounts than they are followed by are seen as less trustful. This is seen as a hint on artificial reputation building on twitter.
It is important for your own authenticity and the standing in the community that you only retweet at best persons you know or are sure to trust.
Very interesting: “84% of twitter users direct their attention to posts via the twitter search and the same number via by twitter recommended topics. Another 72% by Google and 82% by general web searches” WirtschaftsWoche writes. I.e: In fact most twitter users do not only read the statuses on their twitter own stream.
Who wants to raise his number of followers should therefore engage in twittering all trending topics.
March 14th, 2012 by Mathias Buerk
Getting into China’s social media market is not easy. The market is massive with over 500 Mio. internet users so it is hard to keep track of its developments. Furthermore censorship is high in China. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and so forth are banned. In most other countries they are the dominant players, but in China they only play a marginal role as they are hard to reach. And last but not least the language barrier for Westerners is huge.
Nevertheless, our Global Scalability allows us to overcome these frontiers. With native speakers in 70+ languages, ethority is able to get into China’s Social Web.
In the first step, we should take a quick glance into social media platforms offered in China. Here the prism by ethority gives us a clear view with 171 platforms sorted according to category in China and at the same time it shows the Chinese social media behavior. The quantity of platforms offered in each category, tells us how relevant and important the respective categories are. Compared to the German version, this is a whole new world.
In China, there are many copies of the platforms we know. The strict government control from China urges a unique formation of their own social media world. But it doesn’t stop the great interest in web 2.0. On the flipside of the coin, it creates a new market. Since China’s market is closed, an opportunity is given indirectly to Chinese platforms to grow and to cover the national demand. In this case, the Chinese platforms have a better chance to improve and gain a big market share of the global internet market. That’s why 3 of the Top 10 most valuable Social Media enterprises worldwide are Chinese.
Since the Social Web is growing rapidly, the information in the prism might necessitate slight changes over time. We are happy to read your comments on our blog. You find the download of the Chinese Social Media Prism here.
March 7th, 2012 by Sten Franke
We have been teaching it a while already, in the meantime most businesses seem to have understood. The acknowledge that their own social media activities, and of their employees, are a huge treasure of data that yet has to be heaved, ordered an analyzed.
Latest research supports this thesis. For instance a new Iron Mountain study concluded that most European businesses still do not know how to deal with data stemming from social networks like facebook, twitter, or linkedin. “Although 94% (Europe: 86%) of the German businesses asked in this study are aware of the fact that communication via social media channels can possibly be classified as a formal business process” the paper states. “At the same time 72% of German businesses (Europe: 63%) do not consider themselves as being able to capture the data and information exchanged in social media accordingly”. The authors see this as one possible reason why 90% of businesses ban the use of social media while working to their employees.
However, this hardly affects ever more individuals using social media. A current analysis by Statista depicts how regularly users surf their favorite networks by now:
In their examination the colleagues of Iron Mountain picture the situation very negative. They believe that facebook and Co. constitute a similar problem to companies than when email was introduced to the business world. Nevertheless, this example convinces only partly. Even though when emailing started it posed a difficulty to businesses, then firms could not handle the data for analysis properly.
The data and information social networks can provide surmount in importance multiplicately. Social media monitoring and intelligence tools (e.g. the gridmaster) allow the analysis of tweets and posts extensively and to continue working with the gained data.
At Iron Mountain the generated data is perceived as highly huge and unstructured that it is hard to control. Hera again I have to object and refer to our gridmaster. Nevertheless the study is right in remarking that the immediateness and informality in social networks raise the risk of violating copyright or revealing confidential information.
March 1st, 2012 by Sten Franke
As crazy as it sounds: Even global enterprises, who never would make the least decision without investing in extensive prior data analyses and tools to fend off all eventualities, invested in social media campaigns and activities without targeting aims, and define and measure the success thereof.
Though, every responsible marketing, PR or social media manager has to abide to the demand of Return on Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). ROI in many companies still is a term that not all decision-makers can depict. King Fish Media found out that not yet half of the companies measure the ROI of their social media campaign, disregarding social media intelligence and monitoring tools – like the gridmaster – that can analyze ROI easily. The free ethority social media ROI calculator can be used anyway.
Of those companies that are measuring the ROI of their campaign, a third stated that their activities worked or rather proceeded according to their plan. 13% even had results exceeding the expectancies.
Of particular interest is the latter group as the future is theirs. King Fish Media – for instance – found out that 29% of the questioned have to account for a positive ROI to receive a social media budget the following year.
ROI is only one point though, another are the KPI’s. Without them, hardly any relevant and comprehensive measurement of success of social media campaigns is possible. Only that way, activities can be placed sustainably and targeted. Globally what counts is to increase brand awareness, sales, profit, customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, many businesses define the success of their campaigns only by amassing the three f’s (friends, follower, fans). No matter whether on facebook or twitter, the mere amount of the fans or followers doesn’t illustrate the level of interaction. Often, it is standard marketing to increase number of a brand’s fans by advertisements or lotteries. The mass of generated fans amounted like this doesn’t tell how valuable and sustainable it is, when your aim is to increase brand awareness, sales, profit, customer satisfaction and loyalty. I.e. fans recruited by lotteries show actually little interest in your brand. Community management that is authentic and based on dialogue can animate your fans to raise their level of interaction: you’re winning when your fans become so-called superfans, who contribute to building and creating a worthy brand-community by showing above-average engagement. Whether your own community has reached this state, or rather how your community matured already can be seen with global and industry-specific KPI’s. ethority over the past years has developed a substantial set of tools and industry-specific standard KPI’s. We will report further about them in this blog.
I am convinced that the coming 18 months ever larger budgets will be allocated to social media campaigns. This, in turn, means that general, and at the same time individual KPI’s have to be defined urgently, to actually measure the success of social media activities and campaigns.
February 21st, 2012 by Sten Franke
ROI measurement will soon be crucial to any social media marketing strategy and analysis. In my opinion, the most recent study conducted by King Fish Media leads only to this conclusion.
The marketing agency King Fish Media found that, up to now not even half of all businesses measure the ROI of their Social Media campaigns, although for long there are already Social Media Intelligence or Monitoring tools which can easily analyze Return on Investment – like ethority’s gridmaster. In addition to these tools, the free ethority Social Media ROI Calculator may be used.
A third of the businesses that have calculated the ROI of their campaigns stated that their measures have had the expected impact. For 13 percent the results even exceeded all expectations.
Now, these businesses are particularly interesting because they are the future. Analysts of King Fish Media revealed that 29% of the surveyed companies need to show a positive ROI to receive their Social Media Budget next year.
The most important findings of the study were:
1. Social Media ROI tracking will become much more relevant in the future because half of the surveyed companies still do not conduct ROI analyses.
2. It can be predicted, however, that more than the current 29 percent need to develop an appropriate ROI to be able to plan with respective budgets for future campaigns.
3. The time of social media success being determined only by the number of fans, friends or followers or by rule of thumb will pass.
And this is just as well, because everybody profits from a reasonable ROI measurement strategy and analysis: Users, because campaigns are specially tailored to their needs, and businesses, because they can use their budget more efficiently.