This week marks some great new enhancements to WE’s product Ripple Effect. The challenge, as with many products, is taking product messaging out of the “our product gives you feature blah, blah.. and oh yeah…blah“ — and translates that into something of business value.
This challenge is probably also shared by Intel. Take microprocessors — what takeaway to you get from a product announcement for a 22nm 3D Ivy Bridge processor? For us non-IEEE mortals, that chip means better performance and battery life than anything out there — allowing about twice as many transistors to be crammed into the same space as current 32nm chips. That’s got some tech types (and stock market analysts) VERY excited — especially as there’s demand on mobile, tablet and other devices to do more in less space and with less power.
Our Ripple Effect product shows which influencers or online publications had the biggest, most positive and longest lasting impact on a specific campaign, launch or announcement — say… the Intel 22 3D processor announcement last week.
The two views above show online linking and Twitter activity for the Intel announcement. In summary, the 25 websites and outlets covering the event produced 34 original posts, generated 570 comments. The subsequent ripple through social media included 204 links to the original posts from blogs and other online sources, and 2,906 tweets pointing to the original posts. That’s some pretty significant engagement!
What’s interesting is how much sites like Engadget, Ars Technica and the BBC were able to engage their audience. These three sites alone produced 68 percent or more of links and Twitter activity, and 91 percent of comments. In summary — these online publications had a significant Ripple Effect.
At SXSW today, we’re showcasing three great products: Ripple Effect, Social Graph, and Hot Spots. The first two are analytics products that paint a picture of influence for brands or products and the third is an awesome mobile app that tells you where the action is at SXSW.
Ripple Effect tells the story behind the impact that an influential person has across digital channels by identifying the message amplification they achieve in blogs and Twitter. It allows you to determine which influencers speak favorably about your brand and spread positive brand perception by looking at the amplification of coverage online. By gathering engagement information about specific posts and articles, we can tell who had the biggest splash relative to a product launch, event, or communication campaign. This product gives our clients the ability to refine their communication investment. Our analysts take it a step further by providing key insights that inform outreach and message creation.
Complementing the Ripple Effect, the Social Graph gives you an in-depth view of digital relationships based on linking patterns of influential individuals. We’re able to get really interesting insights about how people communicate by mapping the sources they use in their posts and articles. With this information, our clients can understand how topics and brand conversation are spread and the impact of new and up-and-coming influential people. The in-depth social network analysis provided by our analytics team guides engagement strategy and communication planning.
Hot Spots in Austin is a mobile app that answers the burning question: “where are the hot spots?” If you’re looking for the most (or least) popular gathering spots at SXSW, Hot Spots is for you. The best thing about Hot Spots is that it brings local venue check-ins to life in a visual way. It even shows the latest on-line buzz. The app is available for free in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace and iTunes app store so make sure to check it out if you’re at SXSW.
More information about our products is available on our website.
In our second post on the Influence Toolkit, we discuss the Moments of Influence™ (MOI) research we conducted with Harris Interactive and USC’s School of Communications & Journalism.
MOI is a quantitative primary research methodology and, in this case, consisted of a benchmark survey among 511 gamers in late 2008. The objective of MOI was to help marketers choose the optimal mix of marketing communications channels across the three phases of the purchase decision-making process (Awareness, Evaluation and Purchase).
In creating an Influence Channel Index (analytics!) across the decision-making process, we discovered that advertising declines in rank importance the closer gamers got to actual purchase. Traditional PR channels, such as reviews, played a critical role in the Evaluation phase while digital channels, such as online demos, gained in ranking during the final Purchase phase.
More importantly, as it relates to influence, we found that word-of-mouth (WOM) had the most influence across all three phases of Awareness, Evaluation and Purchase. Critically, we separated out WOM into “friends” and “family” instead of combining them. As Solis and Sheldrake have been advocating, the research indicated that friends are significantly more influential than family and that WOM is more impactful versus other channels in the marketing mix.
In analyzing the data from the Moments of Influence research, we also created a segmentation (more analytics!) where we identified a sub-segment of the population that we call Influence Multipliers. Influence Multipliers are media hoovers and are hyper-connected in online and offline social networks. We suspect that Influence Multipliers score high on the “betweenness” concept that Stowe Boyd advocates: people who are connected to, or reside closely between, several discrete social networks. We believe Influence Multipliers act as conduits between various discrete groups of people thereby increasing their influence reach.
We’re currently in the process of creating communities of Influence Multipliers that we can ping for tactical and strategic research needs, nurture with relevant data and activate as brand advocates.
In the spirit of drinking our own digital Kool-Aid, prior to engaging in the dialogue around the concept of influence in marketing and communications, we conducted extensive secondary research and spent a few weeks listening to the thought leaders in the space — Philip Sheldrake, Brian Solis, John Bell, Mitch Joel, Marshall Sponder, Stowe Boyd, Augie Ray, Josh Bernoff — and read the book “Influence” by Robert Cialdini (fascinating book; thanks for the referral, John).
Naturally, there’s a great deal of discussion around the definition of influence. Let’s keep the noise down and just all agree on a combination of Solis’ definition — “the ability to cause measurable actions and outcomes” — and Sheldrake’s “the power or ability to affect someone’s belief’s or actions.”
While we can all likely agree on the definition of influence, it’s not likely that we’d all agree on how to create influence (WOM, traditional/social media, advertising, etc.) and what are the most important components of influence (popularity, “betweenness,” scarcity, authority, expertise, reciprocity, etc.). It’s also unlikely that we’d agree on how to measure those components of influence or agree on what elements are the key drivers of influence (importance rank).
So, this is where I’d like to add my voice and elaborate on some of the tools we use here at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) to create and measure influence on behalf of our clients. Yes, I’m going to sell while I engage. Shocking. I know.
WE recently launched the Influence Toolkit, and I think we’ve got some cool, unique IP to add to the industry dialogue around influence.
So, now that we’ve gotten the introduction niceties out of the way, here’s my attempt to poke the social media hornet’s nest: No one seems to be measuring, or researching, influence holistically. There’s a lot of discussion of primary research into what influences people and there’s discussion of secondary media research into how to measure the effects of influence, but no one seems to be putting the primary and secondary research together. Yes, some say 360° measurement, but I’m just not seeing it in action. Below is our holistic view of the Research Influence Gap.
The Influence Toolkit represents WE’s effort to bring both types of research together to measure how influence is created; who’s the most influential; how influence maps across media and across online/offline social networks; and what impact that influence has on behavior and beliefs. The industry is advocating moving toward a more holistic measurement of PR (see IPR’s Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles), but we still have a lot of work to do.
Over the next week or so, my colleagues and I at WE will create a series of posts around our Influence Measurement IP to further the dialogue around influence and marketing performance measurement. We’ll begin with our primary research called Moments of Influence™ that we created in partnership with David Parcell at Harris Interactive and Jerry Swerling at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism.
I’m a big fan of YouTube Insight.
As with most content published via social media, there is always a degree of trial and error — especially when it comes to video. It’s the reason so few videos ever actually do achieve “viral” status. Nonetheless, video marketing has become slightly more scientific based on the analytics you can pull from various hosting platforms. In particular, I’ve found the data from YouTube Insights to be incredibly useful for tailoring content to a specific audience’s interests.
Just recently, I discovered that YouTube has now extended access to most of their analytics to the public. In other words, any person watching any video on YouTube can now look at various statistics including total views, comments/favorites/ratings, links, audience demographics, honors and more. This isn’t breaking news, but it also wasn’t something that was buzzing around when it was put in place in June. In my eyes, this is HUGE.
Think about the competitive insight that YouTube has just opened up. Rather than dig deep on details, I highly encourage you to hop over to this fantastic post by CJ Bruce that goes into details about how to maximize use of all the data provided. I’ve also included a quick graphic below so you can see how to access the analytics from any individual video page (note, not a channel).
I’ll explain our Influence Ranking algorithm to determine who to pay attention to and then present how we map and structure that dialogue using our Narrative Network text mining and mapping software.
Today, I’m speaking at a Forrester Leadership Board (FLB) Council member meeting in LA, where Forrester will hold its Marketing Forum 2010 conference this Thursday and Friday. I will be addressing the Market Research Council, one of the FLB members, on the topic: “How to Harness the Power of Social Media.” The key point of my presentation will be:
- In order to break through the social media noise and figure out what you need to listen to, you need to have a systematic and structured approach to identify, rank and map your most influential social media outlets.
I will be taking the Market Research Council members through WE’s Moments of Influence media mix modeling technique as an example of how to inventory and discover the appropriate social media outlets among what WE call Influence Multipliers. Influence Multipliers are those hyper-connected, hyper-influential information-Hoovers who have outsized influence effects on their online and offline social networks. For example, Influence Multipliers in the gaming industry tend to be white-collar, male millennials who live in cities.
I’ll explain our Influence Ranking algorithm to determine who to pay attention to and then present how we map and structure that dialogue using our Narrative Network text mining and mapping software.
Once we’ve identified (Moments of Influence), ranked (Influence Ranking) and mapped the relevant social media space (Narrative Network), we then have a Social Influence System to guide actual engagement in relevant social media.
While at the council meeting and the conference, I will try to be an Influence Multiplier and get the word out via Twitter and Linkedin.
While doing some reading recently, I came across a PR industry white paper that addressed some basic concepts important to how we demonstrate PR effectiveness to clients. I was curious to see what the Institute for Public Relations had to say on the matter until I noticed the publication date: 1999.
In my head I started to mock, as quaint, what I imagined might be contained in the paper: advocacy of the dominance of print, the importance of encyclopedias, patronizing mentions of The World Wide Web (chatrooms!), etc. Of course, the internet and email were more than just curiosities 11 years ago, but the degree to which they have become ingrained and vital to our personal and professional lives today was hardly imaginable then.
The real point is that once I began to read through the paper, I almost immediately had a “duh” moment, deflating my smug, snarky attitude, when I recognized that the core principles then are essentially the same as today, regardless of the technologies or methods by which we execute them. The cutting-edge tools we have at our disposal should be (and generally are at WE) operated on a solid foundation of concepts such as “what business problem(s) we are trying to solve” and “how can we show effectiveness and a positive return to our clients?” — just as it was 11 years ago.
As communications professionals, our success is dependent on how we can help our clients succeed — and while existing in a world of constantly evolving communications technologies and channels, we need to stay abreast of change, and ahead of it when possible, and understand what and how we can apply to the PR work we offer our clients. The key is to keep those core principles truly at our core, to always know WHY we’re doing what we’re doing and to build out strategies, methods and use of technologies around that strong center.
Photo by kretyen
ROI. Is it measured by dollars or impact?
At a recent Social Media Breakfast (SMB) Seattle event, @tacanderson (Waggener Edstrom Studio D) and @neilbeam (AT&T) discussed Social Media Measurement and ROI: Making the Connection from Monitoring to the Bottom Line.
Both Anderson and Beam made the case that ROI is often defined by increase or decrease in sales. It is, however, important to identify your objective before defining ROI. Considerations include loyalty, quality, reach, efficacy and engagement. ROI outliers include brand reputation, SEO and capturing the unexpected.
Calls to Action:
• Measure EVERYTHING.
• Think about establishing values to human activities such as the following:
o kudos/vote up
• Know your audience. For example, Anderson explained:
o IT purchasers are single most users of social media.
o The future of social media is with individual influencers.
• Event video
• Event slide deck
• Event photos
• Social Media Vocab Resource
Jennifer Houston, Senior Vice President
Cross-posted at PRWeek Insider
At last week’s D: All Things Digital conference, a big piece of news was a significant cash infusion from Digital Sky Technologies to Facebook. $200 million… Even in a down market, investors are flocking to Facebook.
But it makes sense; Facebook has over 200 million users, dominates its market, and sets today’s standard for social networking — people are hooked.
But, given that they haven’t even turned their first buck yet, why invest in Facebook? Because, most simply, it’s a powerful influence platform.
Facebook has created a convenient way to build and nurture personal connections, coupled with a measureable digital footprint. Because of this, we can now measure content resonance, engagement and reach — and these indicators “dimensionalize” the interconnectedness of content, audience and the distribution mechanism. These digital, social tools give us insight into how, where, what and with whom these nodes of influence connect and drive behavior. We can actually measure our Return on Influence.
Merriam-Webster defines influence as: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. Today, most influence channels are always on, direct, audience-centric, audience-driven platforms that touch many parts of most people’s lives.
Influence isn’t about having the best “thing;” it’s about reaching the right people, with an engagement that delivers value, offering your audience a meaningful connection to your brand. Having great content isn’t enough if you don’t have, don’t know or don’t understand the audience(s) you want to reach and how they want to engage with you.
True influence is the art of communications in action. It requires a deep understanding of nuance, building authentic relationships and commitment to trust. The great news is, we can take those skills and now measure that impact unlike ever before. That’s my kind of investment!
Tac Anderson, Digital Consulting Director
This post was cross-posted on my personal blog.
It’s almost the golden rule of relationship-building but it’s especially true of relationship-building on the Web. People often ask me what approach they should take with the various tools and social networking sites like blogs, Twitter and Facebook. My answer is usually some variation of the following: You should engage with the intent to add more value than you receive.
The crafty capitalist out there occasionally wonders at the logic of this. If I’m giving away more value than I receive, where’s the economic rationale? When I say to give more value than you receive, there are two ways that this works:
- When you first start an engagement you will be giving away far more value than you receive. This is true of any marketing initiative. Your budget of hundreds or millions of dollars is long since spent before your first ad, direct mailer or sales call (with accompanying collateral) ever makes it out your door. It’s the expectation that value will come back at some future point.
- The individual value you create for one customer is greater than the value that one customer returns to you. This makes sense when you add up the sum of all the individuals. Hopefully that number exceeds the value you gave away.
I’m going to attempt something very scary here. I’m going to try and do some math.
At a basic level, if you create a value of 100 points for the community you engage with and there are 1,000 members you engage with that you receive a value of 10 from, then you in essence receive 10,000 points of value for the 100 you gave up. (Wow, that sounded too much like a story problem, didn’t it?)
What Is Value?
That’s something you need to determine depending on your business objectives. Is there a measurable value for every person that knows about you and your company who could potentially refer you business? If so, how much is that worth? If that’s too abstract for you, how much is a potential lead? How much is a link to your site from a blogger? Figure out what all the potential outcomes are and assign a value to them.
Conversely, how much is the value you’re giving up worth? Take into account incremental increases in cost, not existing fixed costs (I know there are accountants out there that will adamantly disagree with me, but I’m a marketer, so screw it). How much would it cost a community member to gain whatever you are giving away? More accurately, how much would the community be willing to pay for that value? Keep in mind that you may be bringing value to a specific community that doesn’t care.
Let’s get really granular for a minute.
Let’s assume that your corporate blog imparts tips, tricks, wisdom, etc., to your readers in a certain vertical. Let’s assume that the value of that knowledge is equal to $1,000 in training, time saved or expertise. Let’s then assume that you have 1,000 readers to your blog. On average if you have a well-targeted readership and a really strong value prop, you could realistically convert 1% of your readers or 10 people. This means that your conversion would need to create at least $100 for you to break even; everything above that is bonus.
Most companies never track to this level, but they should. Heck, I don’t always track to this level, but this is part of my 09 goal. If social networking wants to be taken seriously (heck, if marketing wants to be taken this seriously), then we need to be this granular.
The important part, though, is that we need to be quantitative without losing the human part of our relationship with the communities we engage with.