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.
April 3rd, 2012 by Sten Franke
In the social web the boss can make a difference. According to a study by Brandfog the social media perception of a brand is influenced positively, when the CEO engages on Twitter, Facebook & Co. personally. 78% of those questioned hold the opinion that it has positive consequences for the business, when the chief hits the keyboard of his computer or the touchpad of his smartphone. 71% reckon that it improves the brand image, and another 64% are convinced that the business in question is perceived as more transparent, when the manager facebooks or twitters.
Once being asked after it, 82% answered that it is “important” or even “very important” when the CEO engages in social media. A particularly astonishing result of the study furthermore is that a CEO, who is representing the interests of his enterprise on Twitter or Facebook, increases the trust of his employees in the respective business. At least that is the persuasion of 82%.
Nevertheless it is of major difference, whether the boss twitters, comments, and posts personally or has entrusted it to an external agency. At least a current Swiss study by Zurich-based Bernet PR proves once again that authenticity generally is one of the most important currencies in the social web. “This only works with the personal voice”, Micheal Walther writes. “It is possible to depute concepts, strategies, and programming, on your own you should speak.” In the beginning it would suffice, if a spokesperson or a close colleague would do the talk.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and her spokesman Steffen Seibert constitute a good example. Since the former ZDF journalist twitters, she is – at least perceived – closer to the citizen.
In the end – at least in businesses – it always is about sales and profit. Here, again, a CEO can assert improvements. The study by Brandfog concludes that around 77% of the questioned buy a brand’s or business’ commodities, whose marketing team engages in conversations with the consumers about their own products.
Having read these results, we ask ourselves: Which CEO of a enterprise twitters personally? Not many, that’s for sure! Although it is apparent which huge potential almost all businesses leave untouched.
>>CEOs and Top Executives on Twitter:
March 28th, 2012 by Mathias Buerk
It’s time again. The social media landscape develops at an enormous velocity. All the time new platforms are emerging and gain significance, while others disappear off the screen. That’s why we offer Version 4.0 of the German Social Media Prism.
In our Blog we already covered Pinterest, which wasn’t included in Version 3.0 yet. The image sharing platform was the fastest standalone network to reach to 10 Mio users globally. At the end of February it had 17.8 Mio users worldwide, while in Germany it has 1.4 Mio.
Our Top 20 social media sites featured social media sites that increased in importance since our Version 3.0 of the Social Media Prism Germany. Among them DailyMotion, Orkut, and Photobucket are to be found. They had to be included in Version 4.0 of the German Social Media Prism.
Here you can download Version 4.0 of the Social Media Prism Germany. Share it with your friends and feel free to comment below.
March 26th, 2012 by Sten Franke
The media have a new favorite web topic: Pinterest. For days they cover the image-based network over and over again. The amazing recent development shows the potential of the web pin board and has become a hype topic, in my opinion rightly so. However, most only capture a small part of the current news. If you summarize all reports, a thrilling news mosaic emerges.
The dpa – Germany’s biggest press agency – initially looked at the judicial challenges of pinterest. “Most German jurists conclude that Pinterest violates the copyright” the agency quotes lawyer Carsten Ulbricht. Though, he doesn’t see a wave of dissuasions rolling. Especially as the principle “Nullo actore, nullus iudex” applies. Where there is no claimant, there is no judge.
Irrespective of these concerns the web pin board is a true social media phenomenon. In no time the image pin board turned hot topic in the web 2.0 world. The least know exactly what they talk about, though. That’s why we offer the 3rd part of the Pinterest story (in German: 1st part, 2nd part) with further facts about the usage and demography.
- The image site attracted 17.8 Mio users in the USA according to Focus Online, which signifies an increase of the factor 44 since May ‘11
- According to a study by Shareaholic, Pinterest generates more referral traffic than twitter or Google+
- The boom could pay off soon: apparently venture capitalists are willing to invest at US $ 1 billion+ rating
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 21st, 2012 by Mathias Buerk
Networks and videos dominate in social media. They combine for more than 50% of the worldwide usage of the Top 20 social media platforms. Wikis, blogging platforms and micro-blogging services follow. The aim of ethority’s study about the usage and importance of the variable platforms and channels was: Which platforms are being used most each month and how high is the number of unique visitors? The latter tells more about the success of a platform as, for instance, the number of registered (active/inactive) user accounts (e.g. facebook: 850 Mio) or of page views.
The Top 5 surprise little: Facebook ranks 1st place with 950 Mio unique visitors, YouTube ranks 2nd with 880 Mio, and Wikipedia is 3rd with 410 Mio unique visitors. Blogspot, accounting for 340 Mio unique visitors is the biggest blogging platform worldwide and takes the 4th place, Twitter being 5th with half of that, 170 Mio unique visitors.
Google+, which has been written off by many, at least conquered a respectable 8th place considering their short existence. Soon, then, a channel hardly known in most of the Western World follows: Dailymotion, in Tunesia, France, Turkey, Belgium, Morocco, Algier, and Pakistan according to Alexa among the Top 50 sites, in the USA only takes 214th spot. Badoo, popular in the Mediterranean region, Cameroon and Latin America, and Orkut in Brazil are further channels to be mentioned here.
The graphic shows in the first place, which platforms the Top 20 social media platforms are. Furthermore it lays out how the usage is distributed among variable categories of social media usage. Networks account for 36% of it, and 27% to video sites. Blogging platforms surmount Wikis in their importance, 15% and 12% of social media usage respectively. 5% is allocated to micro-blogging services. Others is made up of picture platforms like flickr and Photobucket, pinning site Pinterest, review site tripadvisor and the content platforms Scribd and Slideshare.
Related to this we want to point to the fact that very common apps like Foursquare and Instagram do not appear here. The do have relatively few unique visitors (5.6 Mio and 9.9 Mio, respectively), but many more registered accounts (15 Mio and 27 Mio, respectively). As they are used on mobile devices they do not require a visit to their website. This is why the number of unique visitors is not as relevant to those services as to others to capture their significance. In future articles we will consider the numbers of the mobile use of apps we do not have at the moment, though.
March 20th, 2012 by Sten Franke
How to reliably measure the success of your own social media campaigns? Still many decision-makers take the numbers of fans and followers as a serious indicator for your brand’s success in social networks.
Return on Investment (ROI) in many businesses is set as a Standard-Key Performance Indicator (KPI), not including social media campaigns and activities, though. King Fish Media found out not even half of businesses measure the ROI of their respective social media campaigns.
This is a fact irrespective of social media intelligence or rather monitoring tools like the gridmaster that are available for a long time already and can analyze your ROI or KPI’s easily. In addition to these tools, the free ethority Social Media ROI Calculator may be used.
These 5 Standard-KPI’s can be applied to most relevant social Networks.
1. Rate of interaction (Conversational exchange) – Amount of replies and comments
The amount of Replies to a tweet for Oosterveer is the most important social media KPI. The answers to a tweet of your brand show how many are willing to engage with the brand, to interact with it or rather exhibit an increased interest in it.
2. Direct Reach – Amount of fans and followers
Even though you should be careful not to take the quantity of your fans too serious when they have been amassed via lotteries and other campaigns, the reach – i.e. the number of individuals who might be reading each tweet or post – remains an important indicator.
3. Sharing or content amplification
The number of shares per post. Each post or tweet creates its own tiny social network, as it is shared, retweeted, or given a +1 via Google+. Each recommendation by a fan reaches out to his entire personal network. This number depicts how often a post has been shared, retweeted of recommended on Google+. No matter where you posted initially.
To measure the sentiment or tonality of a post or tweet a complex analytical tool like the gridmaster is required. A decent analysis of tonality long ago had to become a standard at reputable measurements of KPI’s in social media campaigns, as everybody should be interested whether those innumerable conversations about your brand or campaign tend to be positive or negative.
5. Likes or content appreciation
This is a factor especially for twitter. How often did somebody favor your tweet? This shows inhowfar your messages are useful or entertaining. Only those tweets that entertain or contain relevant information are being favored.
March 19th, 2012 by Sten Franke
Facebook still is the most underestimated platform for corporate communications. This may sound odd, yet most companies and brands don’t exploit social media platform’s potential sufficiently.
A research by Recommend.ly shows 82% of all facebook fanpages are updated less than 5 times a month. A surprisingly low number. Even worse are accounts of local businesses. Only 6% of them engage in conversations on their fanpages.
Furthermore, Recommend.ly found out that on average 91% of comments of facebook fans remain unanswered. As a basis of this analysis 1.7 Mio. fanpages of enterprises serve.
Most companies apparently don’t know how to use their facebook account, these results show.
The conversion into new timeline gives reason to expect better. It forces businesses to reflect on their facebook strategy. Indeed ever more companies evaluate the challenges the social network poses.
Allfacebook.de reports 8 Mio pages have switched to the new design in the first fortnight. I.e. “of the 37 Mio pages with more than 10 fans (December 2011) 20% shifted to the timeline voluntarily”, experts say. Further it reads: “The remaining 80% hopefully are planning the makeover right now.” Otherwise on March 30 there will be a rude awakening: At the end of this month all pages are converted automatically. Futurebiz offers a worthy tutorial.
6 steps to change your fanpage successfully:
- Adapt your cover and profile image
- Create highlights and allocate pictures
- Look through and highlight past posts
- Prepare your community management to the new communication channels
- Optimize tabs
- Evaluate Concepts for campaigns à integrate your chronic
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.
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.