Web Journal – late December 2010 – early January 2011

A discussion of the value of Social Rank for SEO was underway last month in the SEO community (focusing on real vs. fake ways to boast SEO rankings) lead by Danny Sullivan’s question and answer session with Google and Bing on December 1st.  Personally,  it seems like these discussions are as much about “link bait” as any real sharing of information.  That’s boring to me.

Nevertheless, Matt Cutts, Google’s evangelist to the SEO Community confirmed on December 20th that Google is using Social Signals to help rank search results (see video above) but the ranking factor is lightly used for now and it does get fed by reputation quality.  I predict social signal processing in search engines will become much more sophisticated as time goes on, subtly but profoundly affecting search results, personalizing them even more.

On another note, a case study  in my book on Social Media Analytics dealing with the effects of linkbait generated by infographics ties into SEO Strategy in a way I had not considered previously.   There’s a many interesting infographics published lately and there is an  SEO strategy behind many of the infographics that drives them – you’ll have to wait 6 months till my book is published to read it.

Also, in December, news of Delicious being either closed down or sold by Yahoo! surfaced and shook many people’s confidence in the web as place you could store information forever, even though it is largely just that.  What was interesting to me wasn’t that Delicious was being shutdown or sold, rather it had to do with the creativity of people to find other solutions to Delicious and several surfaced within a day or two including this one from Trunk.ly.  Fact of the matter there were dozens of solutions arising and the web community quickly processed the change and I bet several of the ideas of what came up to replace Delicious are superior to Delicious today.

Emarketer published an article on how Travelers use Social Media that ties directly into a case study in my book provided by Synthesio (again, you’ll have to wait 6 months to read it – book is due to be published in July 2011) however a much shorter version of the Accor case study (with much of the details left out) is on Synthesio’s site now.  When considering the survey by StudyLogic for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts mentioned in eMarketer that men were more likely to use social media to plan their trip and check on it while traveling and tie it with the Synthesio Accor case study an interesting picture is created in my mind where there is a clear ecosystem being served by Social Media and the result of successfully feeding that ecosystem drove 55% more positive reviews Year to Year for Accor (all fed by the dashboards Synthesio put in place for Accor); Synthesio’s work with Accor allowed the hotel chain to respond more quickly and completely.   As travelers check review sites for the best hotels and the best prices, it makes sense better reviews will lead to more business – we just don’t know how much.

By the way, Synthesio just published a Pharma and Social Media Case Study that looks really, really good!  In an unrelated Pharma story about Server Resources it was shown the right technologies can cut down the amount of resources  used by 2500%.  And, if your a Pharma company and you want to use Influencers  …read the Case for Influencer Relations.

But what is more important is not the ROI aspect, which everyone seems to focus on, but rather, the nature of Social Business that is emerging late last year and gaining traction this year.   We drop Social Media and call it Social Business – Business needs to listen and respond – if the audience is online, checking review sites while traveling, that’s where the Brand needs to be.  The better a Hotel Brand feeds the Social Ecosystem, the more they will be rewarded – at least, that is what I’m getting out of connecting up this data.

Also, late last month Dachis Group Makes Its Biggest Acquisition To Date, Buys Marketing Agency Powered – this confirms to me there is a new kind of social media agency forming out of combining marketing, creative and programming assets (remember last year Powered was formed via Crayon + a few other companies, including a bunch of programmers).   Dachis Group was founded in 2008, by CEO and chairman Jeffrey Dachis (cofounder and former CEO of Razorfish) – that should tell us where this is going.  Weather the new type of agency that gets formed like this is really any better is hard to say.   I have friends working at Powered and what I can say is the new emerging media plays require a different kind of thinking than what you find in traditional agencies, icluding PR.   Even when an agency can conceive of an approach that might work – they can’t execute it, much less measure it.

Weather Dachis – Powered can do what others can’t, and more effectively, remains to be seen, but it is a movement in what appears to me to be the right direction – one that moves towards programmers and technical assets and ultimately, in my mind, it elevates the role of the Analyst – which is a good thing because I’m an analyst – and I don’t think marketing or PR knows what to do with analysts, yet. Right now they all, with but a very few real exceptions, treat analysts as “widgets” to serve business development and MarCom, even though what is actually being delivered, at the end of the day,  is DATA (I know this is a heated subject and not everyone agrees with me here).

Clearly, the balance of power needs to shift to the analysts (because they are creating the real value – most of the rest is just marketing or PR fluff) – and if the Powered acquisition is in any small way a sign of that shift – it’s a good sign.  Not that I expect Dachis to be much better than the rest of the agencies, but at least they are smart enough to realize they need more technical assets to execute social media strategies.

And then there’s Klout – everyone wants to talk about Klout and Influencers including ConversationAgent.   Everyone knows what is wrong with Klout and I devote a whole chapter in my book focusing on Influencers  (Klout is really looking at signals that it can get off of Twitter and Facebook – but there’s so much more of our activity and influence that is not reflected in Klout, that I doubt it could be an accurate measure of Influence today).  Still, what’s important isn’t that Klout is or isn’t correct, as much as the conversation that is arising around Klout that might eventually lead to some kind of standard for Influence.  At least the online world is beginning to weigh in and perhaps, go with Klout as an easy way to measure influence, at least, for now.

And if your read this far down my post take a look at this post from Boing Boing – Lesbians make more money than straight women (And nobody really knows why).

Ever want to track your own activity on Facebook and Twitter – apparently there is a new service that does that called http://aizon.me/ – I haven’t’ tried it yet but it looks interesting.

At the very end of the year, MetricsMan gave his predictions on what we need to forget in 2011 – Social Media Measurement 2011: Five Things to Forget and Five Things to Learn.   We know what to forget about .. but what about what we should focus on – really liked his first objective – “Measurable Objectives” and how to write them which I quote from, below.

The easiest one to fix is for everybody to learn how to write measurable objectives.  Most objectives today are either not measurable as written or are strategies masquerading as objectives.  (For example, any sentence starting with an action buzzword like leverage is a strategy.)

‘Increase awareness of product X’ is not a measurable objective.  In order to be measurable, objectives must contain two essential elements:

  • Must indicate change in metric of interest – from X to Y
  • Must indicate a timeframe for the desired change – weeks, months, quarter, year, specific dates tied to a campaign (pre/post)

Therefore, properly stated, measurable objectives should look more like these:

  • Increase awareness of product X from 23% to 50% by year-end 2011
  • Increase RTs per 1000 Followers from 0.5% in Q1’11 to 10% by the end of Q2’11.

The other objectives are great too, like Hypothetical ROI, Integrated Digital Measurement and Attribution.

Finally, winding this post down, my friend, Dennis Mortensen’s new platform, Visual Revenue is live - I’ll be meeting with Dennis in a few weeks to discuss the ins and outs of what his platform does with News Media Optimization.  And while we’re at media optimization, did you know that  - Research Shows Viral Video  Watching at work Increases Productivity plus I found a Twitter  Custom URL Shortener Case Study that’s work a look.

Finally, on a more personal note – Many Huffington Post Readers Hate Site’s New Facebook-Powered Recommendation Engine ties into my friend Elena’s Adaptive Semantics engine so I took a look and so far can’t tell what is upsetting about it.

In the process of getting a case study from Huffington Post for my book – have my fingers crossed it will be approved.

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