Category Archives: Reputation Management

Social Media becoming easier to track – by years end, be mostly trackable

I think  Social Media will become easy to track by years end.   This is also the year of Social CRM –  tracking and enablement is coming to us.

It’s only mid-March and it’s already clear.

First – Foursquare is planning to Offer Up User Data with Check-in Analytics – is already testing it –  any business that wants to will be able to offer coupons to those who check in.   I’m doing an  analytics project for a restaurant chain and this offering of Foursquare is big news for this kind of business.  Here’s more information from Fast Company:

…. A new staff page feature also allows venue staffers to see who is currently visiting and communicate with customers. Notice a regular hasn’t been in your store in a while? Tweet them about a cool new shirt that just came in to entice them back.

Foursquare

And this is just the beginning, according to the company. Tristan Walker, director of Foursquare business development, tells Mashable that big innovations like weather tracking could allows business owners to offer specials based on real-time events. Imagine “It’s snowing, so come into Joe’s for a free small coffee with purchase!” popping up on your iPhone when you’re outside freezing and just a block or two away. Hello Joe.

By contacting someone who hasn’t been in your store for a while – and offering them something in real time is very powerful – I saw that last week when I posted on  Social Media ROI for Restaurants and the NY Restaurant Show Tweetup and meeting @paulbarron.  Here’s that interaction again:

…. set up alerts that email me every hour (now it’s every 10 minutes as of tonight) when the restaurant is named in any way.   As I was in the restaurant I got and alert from a customer who was saying she was in the restaurant – via Twitter.

As the alert took place in real time – the customer and her friend were given free drinks and discounts – in other words – we used Social Media and Social Media Monitoring (via Radian6) to reward a customer who was having a great time – and we made that time better.

And you know what …… THAT gesture was worth it in my opinion … look what the customer tweeted after the evening was over …..

TWEET FROM: KIMBERLY819
Name: KIMBERLY819 Posted on: Mar 1, 2010 1:07 AM
Followers: 66 Following: 87
What a GREAT night at Havana Central!!!! My new favorite spot!!
Link http://twitter.com/KIMBERLY819/statuses/9811482654

You want Social Media ROI – you got ROI – a customer for life.

What Foursquare is about to do will make that event happen over and over again – in fact, life could get very interesting for people who are actively using Social Media. I expect Twitter to follow suit – so we won’t just have to depend on using FourSquare (even though FourSquare is great) to be able to take action in real time.   It could be – that many applications will end up becoming real time in this way specifically.

Radian6 announced what it calls the Engagement Console or “Social Phone” yesterday and it sounds like it’s a leap to stay ahead of the trends – this is essentially a new version of Radian6 with Social CRM – which they hinted in the video below.  Marcel LeBrun also hinted at what Social Media is going to end up being called next … “Social Metrics”…. I like that name!

According to the  Radian6 blog - Radian6’s new Engagement Console is a desktop application that:

  • Extends social media monitoring, listening, and engagement to every desktop within your company.
  • Is a complete social Web client that lets you listen to all media types, including blogs, videos, forums, boards, Twitter, Flickr, Google Buzz, LinkedIn Answers, Facebook fan pages & public discussion groups, as well as online mainstream news sites.
  • Allows real-time collaboration among your team members and one-click-workflow assignment of posts enabling faster and more cost effective engagement.
  • Ties into the full power of Radian6, so your teams can channel the right conversations to the right people within your enterprise.
  • Records all interactions in Radian6 for comprehensive operational reporting, and conversation analysis and reporting.

Marcel also mentioned the Engagement Console was a “game changer” and that’s an interesting way of putting it – Radian6 is betting that many companies are now ready to use Social CRM powered by Radian6 and this is what going to help Social Media ROI be easier to distinguish – you’ll be able to tag individuals you interact with as well – very interesting.   I also like the idea that the activity of one person in the group is seen by the rest in real time.

In another major announcement – Quantcast is now providing Global Audience Metrics – which is a direct play on Comscore and Nielsen, in my opinion – one thing that Comscore could charge for is audience metrics by country – and now, that is going to be offered by Quantcast – for free – see below:

….. starting today you now have access to localized audience insights for digital media from every country around the globe. Our audience measurement provides web site owners with accurate, directly measured traffic, demographic, lifestyle, business and geographic audience data and, best of all, it’s free.

Global

In addition to delivering comprehensive audience data for web sites, Quantcast also measures videos, widgets, games and more, with flexible options for understanding distributed/syndicated content and even networks that combine multiple individual properties. Our international offering is made even easier to use through standard integrations with widely-used content, video and ad serving platforms like Adobe Flash and Open Source Media Framework, Microsoft Silverlight, Brightcove, Freewheel, Auditude, LiveRail, Visible Measures, WebTrends, PointRoll, Atlas, Doubleclick, and many more.

You know Comscore’s Video Metrix ….. Game Metrix (I think they have that too)…… well ….. now you can get a free dashboard from Quantcast that will give you a lot of what you used pay a lot for from Comscore … of course, Comscore is also reinventing itself – what we’re seeing …. many of the features that were on the high end of analytics have moved to become free, which is as it should be.

I was not able to see each country as the image above shows – I think you have to own and  qualify the domains that your going to get the video stats on – that’s what it looks like to me – so Quantcast, if this is the case, only partly replaces Comscore, but still – it shows how fast things are moving in measurement – and while this isn’t strictly measuring social media – many people do think that Online Video is part of Social Media … so there.

And then there is Google – Google’s path will make Social Media measurable by years end – just by staying on the course it is on (see the video below):

If you want to see more on how Google is going to push the envelope of Social Media Measurement read my post “I’ve been saying this is coming” – Big Brother & Google’s Entrance into Social Media Monitoring – from MyCustomer.com

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“I’ve been saying this is coming” – Big Brother & Google’s Entrance into Social Media Monitoring – from MyCustomer.com

This post is an enhanced adaption of an article that just appeared at MyCustomer.com that I wrote with an associate, Cecilia Pineda Feret.   While the text is identical, I added images in my post that do not appear at MyCustomer.com as I was concerned this article was already very long (but I’m not as worried about it here at Webmetricsguru.com).   I asked for permission from Neil Davey who publishes MyCustomer.com, a SiftMedia Property based in Bristol UK,  a to publish my article here.

But first …

This week, with Google Rolling Out Social Search and possibly with a tie in to Facebook and moving Social Search into Beta highlights widespread concerns for online privacy and identity management around Google.  Yet more news aboutGoogle Toolbar Spying on Whitehouse.gov (and others) came out shortly after I wrote this article with Cecilia Feret, and I’m sure more instances of online monitoring and privacy will come up in the future.

And now to the article – which has been enhanced with examples of what was referred to in the article – the text is identical and to view the original go to MyCustomer.com and sign up.

Big brother and Google’s entrance into social media monitoring

As a web and social media analyst I am predisposed toward any service that merges customer data with site analytics information and online conversations – which leads me to the following bold, as some say, prediction. At the Monitoring Social Media 09 conference last November, my presentation included the statement: “Google will enter the Social Media Monitoring space within the next 2 years.” (For more information see Slide 15 of my presentation on the Future of Social Media Monitoring).

Google, the largely Orwellian company that claims to “Do No Evil,” takes web site traffic data and correlate it to news, search trends, purchasing activity, search activity and browsing activity throughout the entire web. As I will be discussing Social Media Monitoring as part of my one-day conference in London on March 31st, 2010 at Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp, I have further developed my thoughts from last November.

Monitoring Social Media BootCamp

Based on my own assessment by looking at the available platforms today, there are no Social Media Analytics vendors or Online Reputation Management Services capable of matching Google yet. I think Google’s entrance into this area would be mostly helpful to some of the current entrants, many of them  could end up going out of business or being swallowed up by others. For a recently updated list of Social Media Monitoring Vendors see  StephenDebruyn.com.

Data that could be used for Social Media Monitoring is collected from our search history, websites and web presence. Google collects 18 months of Web History (down from 24 months of a few years ago) and can view and search from the full text of the pages you, or anyone else who has ever logged into Google. Once it acquired DoubleClick, Google integrated DoubleClick’s browsing pattern tracking with Google’s web history tracking to have a full spectrum of access to our web experience at its fingertips, including what sites we ultimately visited after leaving Google’s site, and what products we purchased subsequently.

Note: Google added Twitter updates on some queries in early December 09 as shown in the above screenshot (blue box appearing on the right).

A natural fit?

By logging into my own Google Dashboard, I can see all the information Google collects about me including the number of Google Analytics accounts I have access to, my Google Calendar data (so they know where I have been and where I’m going), my purchasing history via Google Checkout, if I use that for online purchases, all the people I know via my Google Contacts/Address Book plus the information in my Google Documents, the textual analytics around my Gmail correspondences, my Google Reader habits and what I liked and shared on it, whom I’m following on Google Reader and who follows me. In addition to information it collects about us via our Google Accounts and websites, Google Search now displays real time data from Twitter and Facebook highlighting relevant search results.

Above: logging into my Google Dashboard offers a vast array of Information Google has on me or anyone else with an Google Account, yet they are still not showing everything they have.

Google also knows my age, zipcode and activity (ClickStream) giving them a 360-degree visualization of me and anyone else like me who spends a lot time interacting with the world via the web. Magnify the data Google collects on me by the number of Google Accounts (unknown at this time) and you end up with an unparalleled collection of information – what John Battelle calls The Database of Intentions as he describes in his book, “The Search.”

In addition, Google’s real time information about us has been improving exponentially, especially for business activity. Google knows our location in physical space via Google Mobile (and our movements, where we were, are and where we went next), our advertising activity and our profit or costs on Google AdWords.

According to an analysis of 4 million websites done late last year by Factual, 28% of all websites are being monitored by Google Analytics. As of 2007, 108,810,358 websites existed — the way things are going, the number has probably more than doubled by 2010. Using 2007 numbers, Google Analytics was likely to track about 29 million websites then, and tracks probably closer to 60 million sites by now assuming the rate of growth has at least remained consistent. In all likelihood, it is much more than my conservative estimate.

Keeping in mind all the information Google collects on us, why shouldn’t it enter the Social Media Monitoring space with their own suite of solutions? After all, they already have entered many other areas where they are considered one of the top or THE top application for that area: Advertising, content, health, commerce, mobile phone, power monitoring, news, and web analytics tracking. It would be a natural fit for Google to enter Social Media Monitoring.

A vision of the future?

While Google has yet to formally compete with Comscore, Quantcast, and Nielsen in audience monitoring on web platforms, they can easily draw upon the categorization of services, create their own categorizations, and, to some extent, already have within Google Analytics Benchmarking and with Google AdWords. Any website owner can compare their own traffic with other websites in the same category – the data is anonymous, but highly indicative and useful.

Note: Google’s Benchmarking is available when you share your data autonomously within Google Analytics.

What might a Google Social Media Monitoring platform look like and what features might it have?

Free, easy to use, and accessible to anyone who has a Google Account.

Any website monitored by Google Analytics would also be monitored for mentions against specific pages of the site, much as WebTrends reports referral logs to Radian6, but, in this case, it will be Google Search feeding Google Analytics seamlessly much as Yahoo! Search feeds Yahoo! Pipes.

Google Alerts, which have already been built into Google Analytics, via its Intelligence features, could list any mention or event that surpasses a preset threshold. Google Analytics already does this for site events such as more page views, visits or time spent on a page than normal based on trending algorithms that Google has employed and maintains for each Google Analytics account.

Google’s entry in Reputation Management could also take the form of a coordinated response to online mentions using a version of Gmail, with preset templates already set up for the site owner to respond to negative or positive buzz.

Specific solutions might be offered using an advertising campaign with AdWords, including on YouTube where links would be provided in response to a specific action or mention, so that the site owner or business could take immediate follow-up action and have the information appear in Google’s properties counterbalancing or supporting mentions as the case may warrant. Google could or would charge the User for running advertising against the responses, but the User, for the most part, could or would use Google’s Reputation Monitoring service for free. Google could create and maintain a PR/Management Dashboard for individuals and entities.

Reputation Management could also be added to Google via Google Webmaster Tools. Now a site owner can monitor how often their websites are crawled by Google, any problem encountered, and is able to use a response form to communicate directly with Google when there is a problem with their site. Google can find information on the web relating to each page of the site and place it in Webmaster tools for response by the owner while still passing the data to Google Analytics for analysis, trending and alerts.

Note: Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard could be enhanced to handle Reputation Management on a page and site level.

Paid Advertising via Google AdWords (or AdSense, if you’re a publisher) could be integrated with brand mentions in Social Media that appear in Google Search and tied to landing pages monitored by Google Analytics. ROI could be calculated, perhaps for the first time, for Social Media efforts across most or all of your marketing channels.

As Google has almost all the pieces in place to do a better job of social media monitoring than anyone else, why hasn’t it formally entered this space yet?

Note: With Google’s Chrome OS – all the data on your hard drive, not just the Google applications you run now, will be in Google’s possession, as this video above shows (also note the reputation and security focus).

Simply put, until now, the Social Media Monitoring space wasn’t big or important enough for Google to get involved, it was still a niche market in its infancy, according to Forrester.

So far, much of the online marketing budget for Businesses has been focused on Search (Paid and Organic) and not Social Media. In addition, Google may be hesitating until the market grew big enough. Meanwhile it has been increasingly viewed as Big Brother; where Google’s entrance into monitoring is  likely to amplify fears that Google knows everything about us and will use that information for its own best interests at own expense.

But, in 2009 the tide began to turn in favor of Google dipping its foot into Social Media Monitoring as conversations began to be viewed as markets with a whole class of technologies emerging to help companies keep track of the online conversations. Last October two key events happened which helps Google justify enter the Social Media Monitoring space.

  • First, In-Q-Tell, the investment arm of the U.S. government that also serves the C.I.A  bought a stake in Visible Technologies, one of the largest Social Media Monitoring vendors. This action sent a signal to Google and the business investment community that Social Media Monitoring was on the verge of becoming a big business (one that Google may want to be part of).
  • Second, the FTC released its Blogger rules defining the scope and penalties around monitoring blogger payola and Social Media endorsements.  As more and more businesses and individuals seek to monitor online reputation the market for Social Media Monitoring is becoming much more crowded with bigger profits for the main players such as Visible Technologies, Radian6, Buzzmetrics, et al.

I suspect Google has considered entering Social Media Monitoring for some time now and has been quietly working on its own offerings, poised to enter the market at any  moment and dominate it, as Google has proven over and over. Often Google acquires companies to enter a space such as the recent purchase of AdMob to enter the Mobile Advertising space.  The Google acquisition I am most familiar with is Google  acquiring Urchin in 2005 and making  it a free product to anyone who opened a Google Account. However, I do not believe Google needs to acquire a Social Media Monitoring Platform as their own products are at least as good as anything they could acquire and they have everything they need to launch their own solution and tie it to their existing products.

How would Google’s entry in the Social Media Monitoring be good for the existing players in this space?

  • Google’s entrance into Social Media Monitoring will force monitoring vendors to cooperate with each other and improve their offerings, just as Google’s entrance into Web Analytics encouraged vendors to differentiate themselves from Google Analytics,  focusing on features such as event correlation, segmentation and rich media tracking, features Google Analytics did not initially offer, but does now.
  • Development of standards for Social Media Measurement. As I mentioned in slide 11 of my presentation on the Future of Social Media Monitoring Social Media does not have a standard set of definitions for measurement of conversations, sentiment, or share of voice to guide vendors in implementation, which hampers interoperability of social monitoring platforms with each other, even though they are monitoring the same conversations online. Furthermore, implementing standards leads to more profit for vendors. One example is the IAB’s VAST Video Advertising Standard which further monetized third party Video Ad Platforms such as BrightRoll.
  • Most vendors prefer not to share information with each other, however, with Google’s presence in this space, they will have more reason to do so.

These are just some of the reasons for Google to formally enter the Social Media Monitoring space. Of course, the usual suspicions regarding Google’s intentions as they enter any business are likely to surface again. Accusations of being BIG BROTHER hasn’t stopped Google before, and it probably won’t stop them now.

Marshall Sponder is the founder of Webmetricsguru.com, an industry blog about Web AnalyticsSocial Media and Search Marketing. He also writes a monthly column forEntrepreneur.com on helping businesses to leverage online marketing technologies successfully in a challenging economy. Marshall maintains his own Analytics Consultancy, Now-Seo, working with small to large marketing agencies. He is also producing NY DataStories , events offering networking and analysis of business metrics. Follow him on Twitter: @webmetricsguru

Marshall will be presenting at the Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp in London on 31 March. A one-day masterclass hosted by Our Social TimesMyCustomer.com readers can receive a 10% discount by quoting the discount code ‘mycustomer’ on registration. For more details on the Bootcamp click here.
Cecilia Pineda Feret is an Online Marketing and Community Strategist at Accent Resources Online Presence Development where she provides online and social media strategy and creates content and engagement for entities such as Havana Central and StupidCancer.com.She also chairs the Social Media Committee for Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York as well as co-producing NY DataStories. Find her blog: splashthenripples.com and follow her on Twitter: @cecipf

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Google Reputation Strategy and Public Relations works for Search and Social Media

Google is taking over more of what used to be an SEO Job – Reputation Management, according to a new post at the Google Webmaster blog titled Managing your reputation through search results:

” … Think twice before putting your personal information online. Remember that although something might be appropriate for the context in which you’re publishing it, search engines can make it very easy to find that information later, out of context, including by people who don’t normally visit the site where you originally posted it. Translation: don’t assume that just because your mom doesn’t read your blog, she’ll never see that post about the new tattoo you’re hiding from her.”

“… Create a Google profile. When people search for your name, Google can display a link to your Google profile in our search results and people can click through to see whatever information you choose to publish in your profile.

  • If a customer writes a negative review of your business, you could ask some of your other customers who are happy with your company to give a fuller picture of your business.
  • If a blogger is publishing unflattering photos of you, take some pictures you prefer and publish them in a blog post or two.
  • If a newspaper wrote an article about a court case that put you in a negative light, but which was subsequently ruled in your favor, you can ask them to update the article or publish a follow-up article about your exoneration. (This last one may seem far-fetched, but believe it or not, we’ve gotten multiple requests from people in this situation.)

The last example isn’t as far fetched as the Google blog post makes it out to be; it’s been known large newspapers like the New York Times, in an attempt to bolster their organic search traffic, search optimized much of their archived news stories, and in some cases, it had a noticeably bad effect on the reputation and finances of individuals who had old stories written about them (court cases that were later resolved in their favor) that were harmful to their reputation – getting that stuff taken down is a real headache, and often not easy to get at or accomplish.

Google’s advice falls in line with what we already do for many areas of our lives, such as our medical health, it asks us to be proactive and take responsibility for managing our own reputations by thinking about everything we write down on the web, first, anywhere.

The concept that elements of a webpage can be taken out of context by the search engine, I find, intriguing – though it’s quite evident that it’s true, not only for Search Engines, but for Social Media, as well.

In two cases this year, both on Facebook, I commented on what someone else wrote in a Facebook post,  and due to the way the original content was written (in the first person, yet without the author penning their name in the content) when I shared that story, it appeared that I authored the content.   It was quite amusing to me that Jeff Pulver created Soccom in NYC – as I shared it – people started to contact me and ask if I would include them in my conference……. which got me thinking that someday … maybe I ought to have a conference … if it’s as easy as that (except I’d have no way of paying for the setup, so I stay away from creating my own conferences, for now).

But what Google is saying about Reputation Management for Search AND Social Media also applies to the rest of life – because people create meaning in their own minds by taking elements of information surrounding them.  With the atomization of content and Twitter’s 140 character snippets of information – we are all now predisposed to collect snippets of information, just as Search Engines do (after all, it’s people who create Search Engines to emulate the way people process information, much as God created Man/her/its  in his own image   – and if we step back and realize what that means – and then turn it back, inside out – it looks like we can take whatever we see in life, and make it any color or meaning we want – which echos modern psychology, actually.

Information is out there – we put out information about us, others write about themselves and us too, and search engines, made in the image of it’s creators, us, assembles the information in ways that are programmed (by us) but in a much less sophisticated manor than we can – therefore, it’s easy for us to take what search engines present to use, out of context – because we’re now creating our own context and meaning.

My main thought about all of this – if everyone is telling us – be responsible for your own health, reputation, income, social life, etc – how come more and more people feel they can’t cope?  Especially with their Reputation – they can’t cope ……. why?  Easy ………. in every other area of life, you can talk to someone about your problem (i.e.: go to a doctor to talk about health – go to a financial advisor to talk about your finances, go to a lawyer to talk about a case for or against you) but when it’s your Reputation, delivered by Search Engines – who can you talk to at the Search Engines?  A web form?  A SEO person – probably, but they aren’t in control of Search Engines – the computer scientists who run Search Engines, they are the responsible ones, and they don’t want to talk to you or me, in most cases.

So, Google’s post on Managing your reputation through search results is good advice – but it also means it’s one more thing we have to do, manage our online profiles and crawl the web to figure out what stuff people are saying about us, so we can correct it.      Just as we do in other situations, we have to constantly generate good information about ourselves so the Search Engines and Social Networks pick that up -and augment our Reputation, proactively, wherever and whenever we can.

Welcome to the 21st century.   I’m almost tempted to think of that Social Media Guru movie I posted last week - at the end of it, the Social Media Guru says to the potential client …. you have to do everything yourself -since it’s Social Media – ha,ha.

Maybe, the same thing can be said for Search Engines – they want you (us) to do most of the work – they don’t want to manage your reputation for you – but in a way, they are – because, unless your proactive, what ever information people get on one another, is delivered, for the most part, by Search Engines and Social Media, and both may present snippets of information, leaving it up to each individual to make meaning of it.