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Social media analytics: The new marketing paradigm (Part II)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on May 17, 2013

This is the second of a two part post that explores the scope of Social Media Analytics as a tool for the new age marketing paradigm. In Part I i have laid out the key benefits of Social media Analytics

A few quick Examples where SMA is being used effectively
1. Comcast looks at negative feedbacks and outbursts of anger, to detect and respond to service outages and product problems
2. London Hedge Fund, Derwent capital mkes trades basis the financial calm or anxiety from social media data
3. China manages citizen outrage through measured responses to specific online complaints about matters such as Police corruption

Social; media Analytics in Action -

Social; media Analytics in Action –
Economic Times

The Ecosystem
As with all other business systems, the demand for specialist service providers has engendered host of specialized SMA service providers – Many of these companies started out with basic services such as creating social media accounts and pages, and have now graduated to playing the role of social media consultants. They developed a software platform that can sift through billions of bits of data on social media and analyse it through selflearning algorithms. Combining SMA with Semantics and other media (TV being the largest), associations, patterns and trends – provides a whole new dimension to brands and marketers. By 2016, large corporations are expected to spend around $9.8 billion (Rs 55,000 crore) on social-media advertising and social media programs, from $3.8 billion in 2011, according to research firm BIA/Kelsey.

Covering 1 out of every 7 person on this planet, Social media and Analytics is the world’s largest focus group, the largest town hall. Companies that figure this out and manage things will thrive in the next 10-15 years. Companies that don’t will fail.

Social media analytics: The new marketing paradigm (Part I)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on May 16, 2013

Facebook reports 1.11 Bn users, Twitter subs top .55 Bn , Google+ has over .34 Bn users. The Social Media Juggernaut is becoming impossible to miss in terms of planning and executing Marketing strategies. Companies are using conversations on social media platforms to shape entry strategies in new markets, address consumer grievances and communicate directly with target groups. This post (First of a two part series) explores the scope of Social Media Analytics as a tool for the new age marketing paradigm.

Social Media Analytics
While the social media is now a matured platform, it is still early days for social media analytics. Social media analytics roughly imply the set of tools and metrics that Social media in terms of experience, engagement, click thrus and others. In the right term Social media analytics is to this decade what SEO was to the 2000-10.

Soc Net Subs April 2013

Social media analytics helps brands and marketers converse in the proper context with the right audience and close business with customers. Brands are using analytics to understand who they are interacting with, what users like and how to create communication to reach out to the right audience. Markets are truly all about conversations. Thus, Brands need a new suite of analytics solutions to keep them on top of competitive campaign activity and to mine actionable insights. Although at this point of time, brands have mainly focused on changing communication according to the analytics it is expected that in times to come Brands will reach maturity in terms of a stage of creating products and services based on analytics. Consumer instead of being the last point of the marketing channel will be aptly present across the full value chain.

Key benefits of Social media Analytics (SMA)
1. Status Versus Dynamic: Provides a continuous monitor of conversation about any marketing program. Compare this with Surveys and research programs that are intermittent and snapshot based.
2. Scale: While numbers in surveys are limited, and the social media is all about the exponential movement of a conversation through the population
3. The Various shades of consumer response: While Ads are carefully constructed and completely vetted by brands, consumer response to these ads was only on overall aggregate level. SMA however can space out the nuances in the way.
4. Putting Context in the equation: Context affects the extent to which an ad/program generates buzz. Historically, context was held as a constant – whereas SMA determines that context plays a fundamental role in the interaction of the brand and the consumer.
5. Monologue versus Dialogue: Also SMA signals an effective shift in power from one way communication (traditional media) to dialogue between the brand and consumers of mass media.
6. Responsiveness: An early feedback from the first adopters could also provide clues on potential wider impacts and the brand marketer may tweak the message to suit his TG.

Continued in Part II

The consumerization of enterprise

Posted in Enterprise Computing, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on July 14, 2012

Social Media may be a recent enough phenomenon, but it is making the elephants in enterprise dance.

The global enterprise software market which is currently valued at $280 bln is going through a full scale renaissance. Gone are the clunky, licensed business products once churned out by the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Up and coming are cloud-based, intuitive, software-as-a-service applications with social components created by a host of young, disruptive companies. And the big guys are now beginning to play game. In a spate of recent acquisitions, monies worth $2.25 bln have been spent by Enterprise majors to acquire start-ups providing a social platform.

The five factors driving this trend are as under

  1. Easy to use and intuitive UI to drive the next generation of business software.  Anyone who is aware of the Oracle enterprise systems would agree on how geeky it was and the man hours of training required to master Oracle. Deep down that trend is changing
  2. Software by definition has become a cloud based service piece as against a legacy thing that was bought, installed, integrated and resourced at enterprise. Licensing model led to build up of very heavy upfront costs and the need to maintain security and privacy at premises. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) instead treats software as a pay-as-you-go subscription, much like cable or phone service. Hardware and software is all centrally managed by the provider on cloud-based servers, including upgrades, backups and security
  3. The payment mechanisms are changing. As against a CAPEX led purchase earlier, SaaS solutions like Dropbox and LastPass percolate through the workplace organically, introduced casually by employees. If these apps indeed fill a niche, eventually CIOs take notice, opting into buying the enterprise versions. That’s the magic of the Freemium models.
  4. The Facebook approach in Enterprise is promising and delivering. The enterprise of today works across departmental silos with a lot of co-working and co-creation at hand. Collaborative project execution represents one of the most profound – and widely overlooked – advantages of new-generation enterprise software.
  5. Business computing goes mobile as BYOD soars. Availability of business critical data and information systems are hall-marks of new age mobility enterprises. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon lets employees circumvent and subvert clunky, legacy PCs bloated with yesterday’s enterprise software.

So even if the Facebook IPO bust plateau-ed out on Social, the integration of Social and enterprise has great promise. It promises to phase out a $600 billion legacy behemoth- on-premises software, data centers and PCs.

The “Like” economy and Google

Posted in Internet and Search, Semantic Media and Web by Manas Ganguly on April 15, 2012

Internet in general has stood for one philosophy: Creative destruction of standards (Brittanica for instance) and the wisdom of crowds (Wikipedia amongst others).However, Google has been one constant through out last decade of Internet which can hence be referred to as largely iconoclastic.

Google with its venerated search algorithim and its links has reigned supreme throughout the last decade of Internet. But now, as we go from a Web 2.0 to a Web 3.0 economy, even the once invulnerable Google might be in trouble. With real identities generating enormous amounts of data, the linked and sponsored economy of Internet is now migrating to the “like” economy… or +1 as Google would have it.

The dramatic shift from traditional search to social media was underlined last week in a speech by Tanya Corduroy the London Guardian’s director for digital development. Eighteen months ago, Corduroy revealed, search made up 40% of the Guardian’s traffic and social only made up 2%. Last month, however, she acknowledged a “seismic shift” in the Guardian’s referral traffic, with Facebook driving more traffic than Google and making up more than 30% of the newspaper’s referrals.

In the wake of Facebook and Twitter dominated social spaces, Google hasn’t quite been just the spectator. In fact, Google now has 4 products that it has tried to rope in the “social” space – Buzz, wave, Google+ and now Search plus your world (SPYW). Each of these are evolution of how Google is trying to make the shift from the search algorithim to the social and collective criteria. Google has also made headway into 170 million customers through the G+ (as against 900 million in Facebook), but the fact that the average user spends a total of 3.3 minutes on Google+ is testimony of the fact that Google still has some distnace to cover.

The concern here is that in trying to catch up with “social” Google seems to be violating its own matra of “Do no evil”. Google’s announcement this January, that it intended to consolidate personal data across its different products and services — from Gmail to YouTube to Google + to SPYW to Google maps to traditional search – had one concerned technology writer suggest that Google will now know more about us than our wives.

As a fact, Google is as evil or as bonafide as any other company or organzation in this world, but there is a good reason to fear Google’s bloodlust for user data across it properties.Afterall, Google’s business model remains primarily the sale of advertising around its free consumer products. Thus, Google’s desire to intimately know us is primarily driven by its core business objective of — one way or the other – selling that knowledge to advertisers.

This threat was laid out chillingly by the Center for Digital Democracy in a complaint about its new privacy policy to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): “In particular, Google fails to inform its users that the new privacy regime is based on its own business imperatives: To address competition from Facebook, to grow its capacity to finely profile and target through audience buying; to collect, integrate, and utilize a user’s information in order to expand its social media, social search, and mobile marketing activities …”. A number of governments and other citizen agancies are increasingly wary of Google. Antitrust litigations against Google is on the rise. FCC, WhiteHouse, EU have taken exception to Google’s privacy policies.

While its still early, 2012 looks to be the year when Google fortunes could begin to wane.With a global outburst against its privacy policies, anti-trust litigations piling up and decline in public trust, Google looks far from dominating the “like” economy like the way it dominated the “link” economy.

An infographic explaining the evolution and changes in Google’s search algorthim over time. Such tweaks and changes have helped Google stay ahead in the Linked internet economy.

Image Ckurtesy: Outrider

The building of the social media bubble

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on June 13, 2011

To quote Om Malik, Though VCs are doing fewer deals than they were before the recession really took hold in late 2008, the amount of money invested is up to prerecession levels. That’s good news for startups trying to raise money — at least in the short-term. But the valuations of some companies compared to their revenue might spell trouble for the future.

A quick look at the valuations reveals the stretch.

As discussed in an earlier post, the hype of investing in social network shares could be short-lived for the following reasons.

1.Networking businesses have still not demonstrated their ability to leverage their networks in order to generate returns. These networks do not have a proven business model

2.Social Networking companies form part of a sector that will constantly continue to attract capital and new competitors. This is more than likely a bubble that will eventually end.

3.An additional concern was that social networking sites were very often strong in a particular region and not in international terms. This makes it difficult for social networks to grow globally and achieve critical mass in local regions.

Are valuations in Social Media stretched? (Cue:Under-promise, Over-Deliver. What about Over Promising?)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on May 20, 2011

Professional social networking site LinkedIn is raising the price at which it will sell shares in its forthcoming initial public offering (IPO). The new sale price values the firm at $4.3 billion rather than the earlier $3 billion. This comes in the wake of the fact that comScore reported 65% Y-o-Y increase, from 48 million users in March 2010 to 79 million as of March 2011 in traffic to Linkedin.LinkedIn made $15 million last year. It’s now worth $8 bln. That’s a P/E of 37+. Isn’t that a sign of bubble?

Signs of trouble yet?

In 1999-2000 Dotcom burst, overvalued dotcom – companies, which were not-profitable, went bankrupt and together with it millions of (invested) money and many jobs were lost! No one really knows if there is a bubble until after one pops. Nevertheless, there are many signs of froth. The valuations in Social Media are stretched a bit. Microsoft bought over Skype for $8.5 billion, Goldman Sachs has invested $1.5 billion in Facebook that has valued FB at $84 billion, Groupon is valuated for $15-$20 for its IPO listing. Such valuations are reminiscent of the dotcom bubble which busted 10 years ago.Twitter is being valued at $10billion and more. Zynga, creator of the popular Facebook game FarmVille, is worth more than $5 billion.Yammer, a system for sending Twitter-like messages inside businesses, recently raised $25 million, while investors reportedly signed a check for close to $30 million for a niche blogging site called Tumblr. GroupMe, a new group messaging app for cellphones, raised $9 million. Path, an iPhone app for sharing only photos on a social network limited to just 50 people, received $2.5 million. Its competitor, Picplz, scored $5 million. And those are just within the last few months. The trend accelerate over the last six to nine months. The valuation of Facebook has multiplied by a factor of 7 in the last 12 months.

Dotcom was different

Back in the ’90s, companies got funded for five times the amount that Tumblr raised and didn’t have anything close to a business model. People were getting $50 to $200 million a pop and it brought down an entire industry. The frenzy is as much the result of simple laws of supply and demand as the herd mentality. Thanks to the constantly falling cost of computing power, a start-up needs less money to get off the ground. More wealthy people are viewing investing in technology as a hobby, which has increased the competition. Investing in technology has become fashionable. It used to be that angel investing was the province of wealthy men. Now its become the province of everyone. Venture capitalists — hungry for growth and troubled by weak returns — are moving toward smaller investments, hoping to catch the next Facebook in its infancy.

Valuations and Companies will need to move with caution

There’s a lot of exuberance in the social media and technology. A lot of the valuations there don’t make a lot of sense.But, most Silicon Valley investors still see no signs of gloom and doom. Start-ups today have robust business models and business cases that make them viable. The Internet ecosystem has also matured. There is more to valuation than just eyeballs. It could be different this time! In 1999 when the bubble happened many companies did not have business models and advertising on the Web was very immature.2010 and onwards, the real challenge for start-ups flush with venture cash would be proving they were worth the investment or risk having to fold their companies.There may not be a big implosion, but down the road there will be a bunch of blood and tears. The music is going to stop and people will realize there aren’t enough chairs for companies to get the next round of financing. The High valuations though may be cheered for are long term liabilities on the entrepreneurs.The key question now is whether they can accelerate their revenue and earnings growth to eventually validate the valuations.

There are elements of the LinkedIn model – recruitment search – which reflect successful models elsewhere.The LinkedIn Valuation is, of course, just an appetiser for the big one – the prospective float of Facebook at some point in the not-too-distant future. How it is priced will provide a clearer picture of whether the possibly irrational exuberance around LinkedIn’s debut was specific to the dynamics of its offer or reflects the broader capitalisation of optimism about the commercial prospects for the major social networks.

A sound business proposition is the ability to under-promise and over-deliver. Currently the Social Networking valuations are very tall promises which make delivery (at such high order) a suspect. What we will need to wait and watch over the next 2 years is the ability of organizations to be able to spin the profits that the valuations oblige them to. If they cannot stand up to the expectations, then we all know that this is a bubble.We live in interesting times, dont we?

Harnessing the power of social networks: Twitter

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on November 21, 2010

Attributes of Twitter extend beyond just celebrity follower-ships and are largely untapped by the majority of Tweeple. This Presentation examines Twitter beyond celebrities and business engagements.

Facebook: Building a unique business model around socialization

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on October 8, 2010

The second of a four part series on the evolution of Social platforms as the future of Internet. Led by Facebook, Social Internet is already edging out Search/Information era (the Google Internet). Read Part 1 here

Facebook’s alleged revenue has grown from $275 million in 2008 to $635 million in 2009 to a rumored $2 billion this year.Google’s revenues topped $86 million in 2001, $440 million in 2002, and $1.4 billion in 2003, which is a very similar pattern to Facebook (of today).In 2010, Google’s annual revenues are expected to be $28 billion and Facebook is expected to be $2 billion. Facebook is expected to clock 72% CAGR over the next 5 years and is expected to hit $30 billion. Facebook will make this $30 billion through a diverse set of revenue streams that have people at the centre of the business and the proposition. Therefore Socialization is not just a revenue layer, it is the core, the essence of Facebook. For many consumers, Facebook is the Web.

Not only is Facebook serving up advertisements to its consumers and making dollars out of it, it is also engineering an open web eco-system with companies such as Microsoft, Zynga, Amazon and others. The virtual online currency, Facebook Credits is destined to become a tool of web commerce in days to come unless Apple and Google stage an upheaval. Facebook is thus creating a future stream of revenues and profits by creating a virtuous cycle of cross-promotion: targeted lead-generations and subsequent transactions feed into the next series of even-better-targeted lead-generations and subsequent transactions. The main challenge marketers have with the Internet till recently has been that there aren’t too many places where they can reach almost everybody with one single ad spend. Facebook fixes that problem. Facebook is more targeted, has better analytics, and engages its audience directly and interactively through social conversations— status updates, chats, photos and videos.

Facebook Advertising does not directly compete with the text advertisements of Google’s AdWords and AdSense. Instead Facebook is feeding from the TV ad spend dollars. Television advertising represented $60 billion in 2009, or roughly one out of every two dollars spent on advertising in the U.S. Five years from now, billions of dollars of advertising will be spent to direct consumers from one part of Facebook . . . to another part of Facebook, where they’ll be offered real items to buy for ourselves or others, premium services to subscribe to, virtual goods to procure and play with, and deals-of-the-moment available for immediate purchase (or miss out forever!).

Davide Grasso, Nike’s chief marketing officer, says Facebook “is the equivalent for us to what TV was for marketers back in the 1960s. It’s an integral part of what we do now.”

Facebook Ads employ demographic characteristics (Age, Sex, Locations and Interests), which corporate brand managers and television ad buyers have been accustomed to purchasing for half a century. By contrast, Google AdWords target on the intent revealed by search queries, is a new practice that has been less understood (SEO/SMM) amongst marketers though it has been rocking the ad revenues for 10 years now. Facebook has two more aces up its sleeve: Facebook Credits which is on its way to become the first global online virtual currency and algorithim search which would be Facebook’s answer to Google’s Adword and Adsense

Traffic, Stickiness and Engagement: Facebook steals the march over Google

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on October 4, 2010

Contd from earlier post about the debate of Searchability versus Sociability of Internet and Google, Facebook on a collision course.

Facebook has garnered more than 500 million users in six-plus quick years. Google, which is twice as old as Facebook, has over 1 billion searchers but these folks come to its search engine for a quick information fix. Facebook, with all of its content sharing and communications tools, is sticky. In August 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in total minutes users spent on the Website. ComScore said that the U.S. Web users in August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook compared to 39.8 million minutes on all of Google’s Websites including YouTube, Gmail and other properties. The low barrier to entry and stickiness make Facebook a tantalizing proposition for social media advertisers. Facebook will soon partner with Skype for VOIP integration, which would boost its communications quotient. Worth a reported $33 billion on paper, Facebook’s IPO will be the next hottest meal ticket when it finally comes in the next few years.

The notion that Facebook would surpass its search portal giants in minutes spent online has seemed like a foregone conclusion for months given the social network’s meteoric rise in users and the rampant sharing of links, photos, video and other content on the Website. Facebook’s 500 million worldwide users spend on average of 20 minutes or more per day socializing with friends, family and even colleagues. Google is a fact-finding powerhouse for searchers wanting a quick fix. The search engine handles more than a billion searches a day from its one billion users, numbers that could soar with Google Instant ramping up the pace of search on Google.

The idea that Facebook would best a search engine built to serve users results and send them elsewhere seems logical.But the idea that Facebook is also beating out an incredibly sticky video site in YouTube, a massively popular Webmail app in Gmail, and several other Web services is impressive and points to Google’s dilemma. Engagement is now clearly skewed to social network sites like Facebook, not siloed Web services such as Google search and e-mail. Facebook’s rise requires a social network answer from Google. While a lot was being guessed about Google’s upcoming social offering, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hinted that it will bring an organized social strategy to the center of the Google consumer experience. Even while search, Gmail, YouTube, Google News, Google Reader and other Web sites attract millions of users, the services are largely separate. Even Google Buzz is its own social conversation service built atop Gmail.

Facebook commands more attention and consumer time, and that puts them in a powerful position with marketers who want to reach those consumers

This isn’t a crisis for Google because they still have considerable engagement and terrific marketing offerings such as AdWords, but Google will want to leverage its strong brand and the 39.8M minutes people spend on Google properties each month to create what they have not yet created: A single, cohesive place to engage, share, play and learn. It is expected that Google Me would be instrumental in doing some bit of that for Google. But wont that be getting late in the day to make any serious impression on Facebook?

Twitter adds media and content beyond its 140 characters to spice it up

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 15, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words. The Hudson Plane crash was first reported through Twitpic on Twitter by Janis Trums even before other major news and media channels weren’t even aware of the crash. That was the coming of age of the social media phenomenon: Twitter

However, Twitter’s 140 odd characters has sometimes proven to be a restraint on what much and how much is to be said. Thus it is not surprising that Twitter’s 140-character limit on “tweets” is being tweaked to include pictures and video. Although a number of third-party programs which access Twitter’s output via its database can already link directly to pictures and videos on other sites, the site itself has so far held back from allowing anything beyond text-only hyperlinks to appear in users’ streams.

Twitter now finds itself in the footsteps of the biggest social networks Facebook and MySpace, which have made themselves essential to their hundreds of millions of users by becoming a channel for multimedia content.

Twitter is aggressively adding features to itself to make it a more useful and media rich source of information and sharing.
1. The Twitter Logo has been Tweaked a little bit (with more features on the Tweetie Bird)
2. Twitter has also created a single streamlined timeline which features Mentions, Retweets, Searches and Lists (on the left of the screen).
3. The right of the screen includes trending topics, the follow and the unfollow lists and favourites etc.
4. Twitter has established partnerships with DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube to enable embedded photos, content and videos directly on Twitter.
5. When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, one may see related content such as @replies, other Tweets by that same user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
6. One can Click a @username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets.

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