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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

What are companies making their top priority?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

SasOver the next three years, global organizations will make understanding and interacting with the customer their top priority. So says a new study from The Economist Intelligence Unit Voice of the customer: Whose job is it, anyway?

Yet only 56 percent of respondents to the survey, sponsored by SAS, believe their companies clearly understand the customer today.

Worryingly, many companies find it challenging to restructure their businesses around the customer, having been organized traditionally around products or geographies. Only six in ten viewed their companies as customer-centric and just over half report a clear understanding of customers’ tastes and needs.

So whose responsibility will it be?

So whose responsibility will it be to champion the voice of the customer within the organization? And what new skills and capabilities will they need in order to restructure around the customer instead of products?

The report reveals a disconnect amongst executives on these questions. Nearly one-quarter of CMOs surveyed want a Chief Customer Officer to take responsibility; another quarter see the onus on themselves. Currently, the CMO is considered the voice of the customer at just 18 percent of organizations, trailing the head of sales (31 percent).

Obstacles for the CMO include the diversity of the CMOs’ current obligations, few of which are currently customer-facing functions. Regardless, whoever aspires to serve as the voice of the customer must draw on customer insights to create an exceptional customer experience that spans all physical and digital channels.

The key to the CMO delivering on an organizations’ evolving customer-centric mandate may lie in the rise of web, social and mobile channels that are poised to take on greater significance in customer engagement.

Social and mobile to eclipse email?

mobile devicesIn the next three years, social and mobile will eclipse e-mail and the corporate website for customer engagement. Few organizations, however, are currently leveraging emerging social and mobile media channels effectively to reach customers.

Just an editorial aside from the TechJournal, but up to now, predictions that email would become less important have tended to be way off base.  And people do use mobile to check and even reply to email, especially those who travel for business.

 

While social media is predicted to become the second most important channel for customer communication, face-to-face interactions will remain the most important customer engagement channel.

“A growing shift to digital marketing also provides a rich foundation for data-driven customer insight,” says Wilson Raj, Global Customer Intelligence Director for SAS. “CMOs are in a prime position to be champions for the voice of the customer—if they shore up digital and customer analytics skills across the marketing organization.”

Best practices for healthcare social marketing revealed (infographic)

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) may not be defining guidelines in the use of social media in healthcare communications, but the professionals within the space are rapidly shaping best practices for marketing communications.

The current issue of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare is showcasing a research study that measured the attitude of healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences executives on the use of social media. Survey respondents hold positions from CEO to CIO, from Marketing Director to Brand Manager, are active in their positions and serve primarily the United States. The results are surprising, especially given the historically conservative nature of the healthcare marketing community.

The survey focused on those who are tasked with the development, creation and delivery of brand and product information to target audiences.  When asked about whether or not marketers should be permitted to use social media to promote their products and services to the public, most were positive. The mix of media (i.e. YouTube, Flickr, Twitter etc.) appears to be as important as the message.

The data indicates healthcare communications professionals are most reticent to adopt Twitter, a mainstream corporate communications tool. YouTube’s acceptability was pervasive, in fact twice that of Flickr or Twitter. The study also flushed out a number of perceived risks of embracing social media marketing in healthcare communications.

Intuitively, Twitter would have seemed to be the most likely adopted marketing tool based on its 140-character limit: no photos, few words, simple messages and clean delivery. But this is not the case for surveyed healthcare communications professionals.

Social media has long been a resource for industries such as financial services lifestyle products and retailers, but healthcare has been slow to adopt.

Kevin Popovic, Founder & CEO of Ideahaus, conducted much of the research from the company studios in Pittsburgh and San Diego. Popovic, the co-author of the paper, explains, “We’ve worked with every type of business for more than twenty years. As new types of communications have evolved, most industries have kept pace – except healthcare – and the hesitancy stems from a lack of guidelines from the FDA.”

“There is no question that the FDA’s lack of leadership in providing guidelines has limited the broad adoption of social media,”Chauncey SmithMarketSMITH Services, LLC headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA and paper co-author, added. “Can these media be abused as a promotional communication channel by not being fair and balanced? Absolutely. But could social media become a force for positive change in healthcare? We think so, which is why we will continue exploring this topic.”

This research project is a follow-up to the Popovic and Smith 2010 publication in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare(Vol. 3, No. 2) ‘Tweeting @DoctorWelby: Practical Examples of Social Media in Healthcare.’

Popovic and Smith continue to believe that social media should be embraced as an integral part of any healthcare communication plan, and see signs that this is occurring with greater scale and frequency.

Read the full version of ‘Attitudes on the Use of Social Media in Healthcare Communications’ in the Ideahaus Professional Community, or download the article at the Journal of Communications in Healthcare website.

Get the inside story on Bitcoin and Aereo at Atlanta Digital Summit

Monday, May 13th, 2013
Digital Summit

The Digital Summit is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast.

Only a handful of seats remain available for the largest digital conference in the Southeast, the Digital Summit, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, tomorrow, May 13 and Wednesday, May 14.

This year, in addition to the more than 100 leading digital thought leaders set to present the latest digital strategies and trends at the summit, you’ll get the inside story on two hot topics: the Internet currency Bitcoin and the company disrupting cable and satellite TV delivery models, Aereo.

Chet Kanojia, CEO and founder of Aereo, which grabs over-the-air TV broadcasts and offers them to consumers via Internet connected devices, will talk about his starup’s disruptive technology.

Kanojia says The consumer proposition is what’s important.

Bitcoins

Bitcoins

Stephen Pair, co-founder and CTO of BitPay, the leading processor for bitcoin, will provide an overview of the somewhat controversial Internet currency. He talked to the TechJournal about What will make bitcoin succeed or fail,” in advance of his appearance at the Summit.

Speakers will also share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding among many others.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 digital marketers, Internet executives, web strategists, entrepreneurs and other digital professionals will connect in Atlanta for two full days of content and networking.

social televisionSpeakers represent leading brands such as Google, Twitter, reddit, Mashable, Porsche, Turner, TMZ, Coca-Cola, HootSuite, NASCAR, The Weather Channel, Aereo, Dell, Rovi, HGTV, Forrester, StumbleUpon, Salesforce and Adobe to name a few.

The Digital Summit conference features a keynote from the co-founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, and over 80 strategy presentations and discussions, musical acts, the Startup Showcase, preconference workshops, leading digital vendors and hours of attendee networking.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve interviewed a handful of the digital gurus who will participate. It’s only a sample:

Among those you’ll hear are:

Microsoft/Bing’s Matt Wallaert says Behavioral Science is helping build a better tech future and why people prefer Bing to Google in tests.

Mike Perla, director of conversion optimization and creative at Fathom will fill you in on how to Show your client ROI from usability testing.

Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder of the unique online dating site, How About We, talks about a data driven company

Brian DAmato

Brian DAmato

Brian DAmato, SVP of Analytics at Moxie discusses How to get ROI from digital channels.

Tim Clark, director of optimization for NASCAR, talks about how NASCAR listens to its fans to increase digital channel engagement.

Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive offers three tips for grabbing attention via digital channels and keeping it.

Social media and marketing consultant Jeff Sheehan explains how Linkedin offers a billboard to 200 million users.

SEO expert Josh McCoy says you should use competitive analysis and enticing content to fire up your SEO.

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, vice president of client services withExpion, urges you to break down walls to pop the social media bubble.

Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts tells you how to do those backlinks right.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, offers insight into the mobile ad secret sauce – capturing moments of achievement.

Jacques Panis of Shinola, talks about bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the US in Good timing, making watches in Detroit.

 

How TV viewers really use social media

Monday, May 13th, 2013

social mediaDifferent media channels drive different social media behaviors.

The findings were revealed today from the TVB (www.tvb.org), the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, in the organization’s 2013 Cultural Currency study.

In conjunction with Colligent, a social affinity mapping company, TVB married Nielsen Media Research and Kantar Media data with social media behaviors (not conversation) across Twitter and Facebook to identify the quantity and intensity of behavior for broadcast and cable TV, radio and newspapers at the national and local level.

The study has important implications for how TV programmers and marketers can effectively synchronize social media with their traditional media investments.

Twitter bird

The Cultural Currency research analyzed social media behaviors among 167 million Facebook and Twitter users across 4400 primetime television programs, 540 consumer brands, 570 TV stations, 1823 radio stations and 358 local and national newspapers.

Roadmap to social media experiences

As more content producers and advertisers turn to social media to build and engage program and brand fans, this study provides a roadmap on how to build social media experiences that will maximize consumer engagement and help programmers and advertisers set the right action standards for success.

The findings showed that fan behaviors that drive Cultural Currency activate a different set of personal interactions and necessitate different strategies for brand engagement. Local broadcast TV viewers are 85% more likely to post photos and videos than users of all media (radio, newspapers, broadcast and cable television), primarily because of their strong connection to community.

Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

Local newspapers outperform all other media in generating retweets (54% more likely), while radio and cable TV users are avid content likers (each 46% more likely).

Across all media channels, broadcast television offered the most balanced set of social media behaviors to activate across content offerings.

Brian Wieser, a leading media industry analyst at equity research firm Pivotal Research Group, highlighted the study’s importance. “This important research from the TVB highlights the growing inter-relationships between television, social media and second-screen content more generally.”

The study unearthed critical insights for programmers and advertisers who build complementary social media experiences to enhance their media investments, including:

  • Broadcast TV Builds Brand Fans With its Combination of Big Audiences and Deep Engagement.
    Broadcast TV at the national and local level is still the dominant brand-builder in the media landscape, generating as much as192X more brand fans within social media than advertisers in the same category who only purchased cable. The use of social media to prove the correlation of actual media investment with brand affinity is a game-changing insight that provides marketers with the ability to target their most engaged brand fans using the efficiencies of mass reach media.
  • Social Media Platforms Are Not Equal Across the Television Landscape.
    There is a polarization of platform preference depending on the programming genre. Viewers of mainstream primetime genres, driven by big hit programs, exhibited more active behaviors on Twitter than on Facebook, suggesting that Twitter has established itself as the “in-the-moment,” simultaneous platform for cultural currency traders and that “appointment viewing” is now an interactive “appointment experience” that offers advertisers more opportunities to engage in real-time.

“Mass culture that is accessible to many and used in social exchanges both online and off, provides the Cultural Currency needed to attract, maintain, and grow our relationships with others as well as with brands,” explained Stacey Lynn Schulman (formerly Koerner), Chief Research Officer at TVB.

“In our eagerness to embrace technologies that enhance personalization and customization, our society has become more isolated, and mainstream media products, particularly broadcast TV, provides the glue that connects our virtual and physical lives. Just like monetary currencies, different cultural products provide different value in this new eco-system, and it’s not surprising that Broadcast Television – from local stations to national networks – excels in this regard.”

Instagram more effective than Pinterest for top brands

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

InstagramSimply Measured says that a year after being acquired by Facebook, 67 percent of top brands are now using Instagram, reaching more than 100 million active monthly users on the network, a 500 percent increase in users since the acquisition.

The Simply Measured Instagram study evaluates brands and verticals in the Interbrand 100, identifying key trends and strategies shaping the way companies engage with consumers through social media. Key findings include:

  • PinterestInstagram is more powerful than Pinterest. While Facebook and Twitter continue their reign as the dominant social networks, Simply Measured’s quarterly study found that the appeal of visual marketing is on the rise.
  • To date, Pinterest has attracted a higher percentage of brands, however Instagram is growing faster and proving more valuable. As of May 1, the collective audience of the 76 Interbrand companies on Pinterest was less than 500,000, while Instagram’s 67 companies reach more than 7 million followers.
  • Facebook’s impact cannot be overlooked. Since the acquisition, Twitter engagement has steadily dropped, while Facebook engagement is up 23 percent quarter over quarter, spurred by several strategic moves including integrating “like” sharing and introducing web profiles. In total, more than 2 million likes, comments and shares of Instagram photos have occurred on Facebook since the network bought to photo sharing app.
  • Top brands are using Instagram more frequently and with greater impact. Today, 23 percent of active Interbrand 100 companies post more than 50 times a month, up from 20 percent last quarter. In addition, those brands are seeing more than 5,600 engagements per photo, up 16 percent over the previous quarter.
  • StarbucksNike, MTV and Starbucks top the list. This quarter, Nike became the third brand to reach 1 million followers, joining MTV and Starbucks. MTV saw a 200 percent growth in engagement, due in part to its robust usage of Instagram surrounding the MTV Movie Awards. The network’s unprecedented level of activity was rewarded as it posted 78 photos the day of the show, each averaging more than 16,000 likes and comments.

“A year ago, many people were skeptical about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and whether it would hinder the network’s growth. However today it’s very clear that the synergies are not only bringing new users on board, but also creating incredible opportunities for brands to connect with consumers,” said Adam Schoenfeld, CEO of Simply Measured.

Simply Measured’s analytics and reporting capabilities allow brands to track Instagram engagement in-context with other social media campaigns, including most engaging photos, most engaging filters, most engaging locations, cross-posting, keyword analysis and more.

To analyze any Instagram profile for free, visit: http://simplymeasured.com/freebies/instagram-analytics.

Facebook may start running autoplay video ads in your newsfeed

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

FacebookFacebook is intent on making money, but also, it seems at times, on alienating its consumers. Are you ready for video ads in your newsfeed that play automatically?

Starting in July, Facebook plans to start running auto-playing video ads in your newsfeed.

Ad Age originally reported that Facebook was considering the video ads.

The company may start the videos without audio and give the user the option of playing it with audio.

Reports say it is leaning toward 15-second rather than more traditional 30 second ads.

It’s clear that Facebook needs to come up with ways to generate revenue from its hordes of users. But with all the social networks out there now chipping away at its base, it might want to think twice about alienating users with intrusive advertising.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already a bit flummoxed when I see newsfeed ads when I’m trying to catch up with friends. They’re tolerable, but I suspect autoplay video ads might push some users over the desert the platform edge.

So what do you think? Is this a good move for the social network, or will it just cause more trouble for the already troubled top dog in the social networking kennel?

–Allan Maurer

 

Staples contest offers winners $50K in digital marketing

Monday, May 6th, 2013

social mediaWould $50,000 in digital marketing give your business a boost? If you know what it would do for you, writing an essay on the topic could win you the cash.

Small business owners recognize the power of social media in engaging customers but most lack the expertise to apply the latest digital marketing tools to their businesses, according to a recent survey conducted byStaples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), the world’s largest office products company and second largest internet retailer.

In fact, a large Facebook community of fans topped a small business “wish list,” outranking such traditional marketing tools such as a celebrity endorsement (22%) and Super Bowl ad (18%).

Three businesses can win

To help small businesses master powerful digital tools, Staples is helping push small business forward by awarding three small businesses $50,000 each in digital marketing as part of the Staples Push It Forward Contest launching today on Staples’ Facebook page through 5:00 p.m. ET on May 31, 2013. For rules and eligibility, visit the contest on Facebook.com/Staples.

“Small businesses play a vital role in our communities,” said Alison Corcoran, senior vice president, Stores and Online Marketing, Staples. “At Staples, we’ve been helping small business for nearly three decades and are taking that to the next level by providing the latest digital marketing tools, tips, expertise and information through our new Staples Business Hub and the Push It Forward Contest on our Facebook page. The contest is the result of feedback and insight gathered from our Succeed small business community on LinkedIn.”

Staples Small Business Social Media Survey

The Staples survey looked at how small businesses are integrating social media into their operations. Poll results include:

  • 53% of small business owners/leader are either novices or do not consider how social media can help their business
  • 40% of small businesses feel that their social media channel use has helped their business
  • 61% of small businesses use at least one social media channel
  • Most frequently mentioned goal for social media usage is engaging customers (50%), edging out increasing sales (46%) and creating brand awareness (44%)
  • Facebook and LinkedIn, followed by Twitter are the leading social media channels used by small business owners

Enter To Win $50,000 in Digital Marketing

To help make digital media easy for small businesses, Staples today launched the Staples Push It Forward Contest which awards three winning small businesses with $50,000 each in digital marketing.

Small businesses can enter to win the Staples Push It Forward Contest by submitting a 75 word essay on the contest site that answers the question: “What would a $50,000 digital marketing push from Staples mean for your small business?”

Of the submissions, three small business grand prize winners will be selected by Staples, small business expert Steve Strauss and consumer votes to receive $50,000 in digital marketing.

Grand Prize Includes:

  • Paid digital marketing
  • Account Manager from GannettLocal (digital marketing agency) to create, manage and optimize a customized digital marketing media solution
  • Free, one-year account with Constant Contact (online marketing leader)
  • One-on-one (1-hour) session with small business expert and USA Today columnist Steve Strauss
  • Special $5,000 Bonus Prize if the winner is a member of Succeed Powered by Staples on LinkedIn

Voter Prize Package Includes:

Plus, one person who votes for their favorite small business will be randomly selected to win a Voter Prize Package worth $1,500 in prizes from Staples including a Microsoft Surface Pro 128 GB, Microsoft Surface type cover, Microsoft Surface mouse and $300 Staples gift card.

More than 100 digital thought-leaders headed to Atlanta

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Digital SummitMore than 100 leading digital thought leaders are set to present the latest digital strategies and trends at the Digital Summit, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, May 14th – 15th, 2013.

Speakers will share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding among many others.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 digital marketers, Internet executives, web strategists, entrepreneurs and other digital professionals will connect in Atlanta for two full days of content and networking.

social televisionSpeakers represent leading brands such as Google, Twitter, reddit, Mashable, Porsche, Turner, TMZ, Coca-Cola, HootSuite, NASCAR, The Weather Channel, Aereo, Dell, Rovi, HGTV, Forrester, StumbleUpon, Salesforce and Adobe to name a few.

The Digital Summit conference features a keynote from the co-founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, and over 80 strategy presentations and discussions, musical acts, the Startup Showcase, preconference workshops, leading digital vendors and hours of attendee networking.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve interviewed a handful of the digital gurus who will participate, with more to come.

Among those you’ll hear are:

Brian DAmato, SVP of Analytics at Moxie discusses How to get ROI from digital channels.

NASCAR_Chevrolet_ImpalaTim Clark, director of optimization for NASCAR, talks about how NASCAR listens to its fans to increase digital channel engagement.

Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive offers three tips for grabbing attention via digital channels and keeping it.

Social media and marketing consultant Jeff Sheehan explains how Linkedin offers a billboard to 200 million users.

SEO expert Josh McCoy says you should use competitive analysis and enticing content to fire up your SEO.

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.

Erica McClenny, vice president of client services withExpion, urges you to break down walls to pop the social media bubble.

Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts tells you how to do those backlinks right.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, offers insight into the mobile ad secret sauce – capturing moments of achievement.

Linkedin offers you a billboard to 20M people

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan

So, how do you get 195,000 followers on Twitter? Buy them? Bribe them? Offer them ice cream cones?

“Honestly, I worked my tail off,” says Jeff Sheehan, a marketing and social media consultant at  Sheehan Marketing Strategies, who is recognized as one of the Top 100 Marketers to Follow on Twitter, who now has more than 199,000 followers.

Sheehan, who has 30 years of high-tech global sales, marketing, and advertising experience marketing to Intel, Cisco, Apple, HP, and IBM, is a well known speaker in the Atlanta area on the use of Linkedin, Personal Branding, Social Media, and Marketing.

He’ll be talking about Linkedin at the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15, joining dozens of other digital media, marketing, advertising, and technology thought-leaders from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, and many others.

“The power of social media is incredible,” Sheehan tells the TechJournal. “It levels the playing field and gives you the ability to position yourself regardless of your background. So anybody can be a somebody if they’re good at branding themselves online.”

Tips on using Linkedin

LinkedInAn expert at using Linkedin, Sheehan offers these tips on using the social network:

First, he says, “Be credible. Put up the best profile you can.” That means also including appropriate keywords – although he rails against people who overdo it the way sites used to overuse keywords for SEO. On his blog for instance, he cites one unnamed job hunter who was in social media less than a year but includes a whole long paragraph with nothing but the phrase “Social media marketing.”

You should, though, include a professional photo and a complete picture of what you’ve done.

Next, Sheehan suggests, you have to build your network. “Find people with common interests and ask to join their network,” he says.

Once you’ve acquired endorsements and recommendations on LinkedIn, it adds to your credibility, he says, although we’ve heard some dissenting voices regarding the value of endorsements.

Like your own billboard

After you establish your identity, Sheehan notes, Linkedin is “Like your own billboard with a potential audience of 200 million people. You can display your work and provide your network with material you think is relevant, articles, news.”

He warns, however, “Don’t spam people.” One person in his network “Puts out post after post after post,” he says, so Sheehan used the Linkedin “hide” feature. That keeps the person in his network, but he’s not longer bothered by all those superfluous posts.

“You want to keep people in your network,” he says. “The more people you are connected to, the easier you can be found. So it’s important to retain the size and integrity of your network.”

Longer shelf life

On the other hand, used judiciously, you can “Get a lot of visibility via Linkedin updates,” which have a shelf life a bit longer than the rapidly moving Twitter stream.

Twitter bird

Just call me Larry.

Sheehan, who has called himself a “Twitteraholic,” says he also sees great potential in Google+. “Google is going to continue to invest in it,” he says.

Facebook, he says, “Is mostly for friends and family.”

Pinterest, which had quite a buzz last year, “Is not as universal” as the other social networks, he adds. “It’s audience is 85 percent female. But it has benefited a lot of businesses.”

There are so many social networking tools, with new ones such as Instagram and Vine popping up all the time, that no one has time to manage them all.

“Pick your poison and figure out where you’re going to focus,” he says.

 

Use competitive analysis, enticing content for better SEO

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Josh McCoy.

Josh McCoy.

Search engine optimization now has to deal with up to 500 updates to search engine algorithms every year. “It used to be easy to position key words in the past, but no more,” says SEO expert Josh McCoy.

Lead stratagist at Vizion Interactive, McCoy is a monthly columnist for the leading search engine marketing news site Search Engine Watch, a speaking contributor for the Search Engine Strategies conference series and the ClickZ Training Academy and  manages the Kansas City Search Engine Marketing Association.

He’s one of dozens of digital thought-leaders, top executives from digital brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, About.com, AT&T, Adobe, MailOnline, Porche, and the Wall Street Journal, among many others, participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

With a major update to the Google Penguin algorithm scheduled to hit soon, McCoy notes that Google rolled out an update in March that he’s still examining.

Rankings go all over the place

“Every time they update rankings go all over the place, then they ease up a bit,” he says. Sites that took a hit because of the March update may have seen some traffic coming back by April.

“I’m still tracking what they actually did with the algorithm,” McCoy says. But he did pinpoint two parts of it.

First, it hits “Over optimization of key words on pages, title elements, and headings or copy.”

Second, it looks at the bounce rate of key words on landing pages. “They’re cleaning up the algorithm so that if people are bouncing out when coming to the site through search, those pages perhaps should not be ranking,” he explains.

What content works?

The changes in the way the search engines rank sites mean content now needs to “Be enticing,useful, and informative.” That means that aggregation and curated content do not rank so well any longer. “They rely more on the quality of back links and the social buzz you get,” McCoy notes.

At the Digital Summit, McCoy will discuss using competitive analysis for organic search optimization. Competitive analysis, he says, “Is a foundational starting point you have to reivsit every quarter. It’s not a one and done kind of thing.”

You start, he says, with key word research, which terms are important to your site and the mission of your company. “Look at the where, the who and the how,” he says.

Look at your competitive landscape

Begin by addressing your competitive landscape, he suggests. “A mistake some companies make is that if they have physical locations they may think the store across the street is the competition – but it may not be online.”

Identify who your competitors really are. “I go after two or three,” McCoy says. “It’s best done with a few. You have to find your true direct competitors and then your key word competitors.”

To find out who your competitors really are, you examine the key word landscape. “Who is ranking for which key words? Who’s doing paid search for them? What types of universal results show up (video? images?).”

You have to write content for those key words and you may need to include video and/or images.

McCoy recommends using a number of tools to discover what the value of specific key words are to your competitors. Those tools can provide informations such as the search volume, the estimated number of clicks they get, the traffic and how much it would cost to buy that traffic.

You want to find out what is working for them.

Tools McCoy suggests include: SEMrush; Spyfu; linkdex; opensiteexporer; and MajesticSEO.

After who and the where, you look at how your competitors do things: how they build their site, the type of content they have allowing them to rank.

Also, says McCoy, “Look at other things offsite: what types of links are they getting, do they have high trust for their domain?”

Then, look at social. “Look at what your competitors are doing socially. Look at their audience. What types of content are people grabbing onto? See what works for them socially.”

Michael Marshall, another speaker at the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta, has some advice for getting your backlinks right.

 

Five ways for software vendors to create value

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

experience radarThe converging forces of cloud, social media, mobile and big data have fundamentally altered the enterprise software sales process, finds PwC US in a new report titled Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the U.S. Software Industry.

The study, which is one in a series of customer-centric reports, measures the experiences of about 6,000 U.S. consumers across multiple industries.

The PwC study finds that in today’s empowered customer world, enterprise software vendors must rethink their value propositions and the experience they deliver.

Looking at five core enterprise software customer experience attributes–quality, support, convenience, presentation and community–the Experience Radar study reveals the hidden sources of value to help software companies drive exceptional, differentiated customer experience.

No more large-scale sales

“Responses to our survey suggest that the days of large-scale sales and implementations are behind us and as a result, software vendors in this demand-driven environment are no longer able to mandate terms,” said Patrick Pugh , PwC’s U.S. software and Internet leader.

“Today’s software customers have options and expect next-generation sales to be uniquely tailored to their needs and able to move at the pace with which they do business. To stay in the game, leading software vendors need to deepen relationships with customers and offer what they value most.”

The growth of non-traditional players offering cloud services, new online business models and lower margins due to vertical integration has shifted the balance of power to the customer.

Top considerations for today’s software user

According to the survey conducted by PwC, the advent of new user interfaces such as tablets and mobile devices are driving the focus toward interaction with the end user.

Customization, adaptability and multichannel access are top of mind considerations for today’s software end-user.

Experience Radar defines the five behaviors that enterprise software vendors can adopt to potentially enhance customer experience and create value:

  • Deliver what matters most: Look across the product lifecycle to ensure customers receive a consistently strong experience. Typically, only half of software features are widely used, which means most enterprise software is much more complex than the user needs. Prioritize performance over bells and whistles to deliver the most customer value. Keep the end goal in mind by educating customers and focusing resources on improving the main functions. Consider partnering with system integrators to achieve a smooth installation.
  • Infuse the human touch: While new technologies give customers a multitude of channels, human communication is still critical to delivering top-notch experiences. Focus on building long-term relationships by providing personalized support when issues arise. Use training and live demonstrations as opportunities to strengthen relationships. Ensure employee incentives are aligned to deliver an experience that meets customer needs.
  • Promote agility: With 78 percent of companies now embracing a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy, companies are creating agile, streamlined environments which require software to support the flexible workplace. Furthermore, businesses are moving away from traditional IT infrastructures to a flexible hybrid model that supports cloud computing.  Software vendors will need to selectively expand to new devices, offer options to support mobility and build the right cloud capabilities.
  • Own the issues: While issues will inevitably arise, twenty four hours is the window in which most customers want issue resolution.  Take ownership with swift action to resolve issues quickly.  Conducting root-cause analysis on service issues and investing in processes and technology may help minimize errors. Create long-term partnerships with customers by building credibility through reliable products and support.
  • Turn advocacy into action: Customers are more likely to purchase from highly regarded companies and 84 percent will recommend a vendor after a great experience according to the survey findings.  Software vendors should identify key influencers to serve as brand advocates and build communities among customers.

Experience Radar provides an analysis of behavioral profiles for the enterprise software segments; up & coming corporations, emerging empires and big business behemoths.  In addition, the report outlines the Small & Medium Business (SMB) category across three behavioral segments: mid-sized movers, elemental establishments and vivacious ventures.

“Some of the top drivers of great customer experience for the software industry - smooth installation, prompt support and personalized attention - serve as powerful guides for other industries to follow in determining how to create meaningful experiences to drive long-term customer loyalty,” said Paul D’Alessandro, PwC’s U.S. customer impact leader.

Time spent on social networking declined slightly

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

social media logosSocial networking is claiming a significant part of the time we spend online, according to a new report. Experian Marketing Services, a global provider of integrated consumer insight, targeting and cross channel marketing, reveals that if the time spent on the Internet for personal computers was distilled into an hour then 27 percent of it would be spent on social networking and forums across US, UK and Australia in 2012.

In the US, 16 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking and forums, nine minutes on entertainment sites and five minutes shopping.

Global comparison
In the UK 13 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking and forums, nine minutes on entertainment sites and six minutes shopping.  Australian Internet users spend 14 minutes on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online.

Across all three markets, time spent shopping online grew year-on-year, but the UK market emerged as having the most prolific online shoppers, spending proportionally more time on retail websites than online users in the US or Australia.

Digital shopping cartUK Internet users spent 10 percent of all time online shopping in 2012, compared to nine percent in the US and six percent in Australia. This was in part due to a bumper Christmas season in the UK where 370 million hours were spent shopping online, 24 percent higher than the monthly average.

Consumption of news content also increased across all three markets with Australian users emerging as the most voracious consumers of news online. Six percent of all time spent online in Australia in 2012 was on a news website, compared to five percent in the UK and four percent in the US.

Social media time declines

There are signs that some of us may be feeling social media fatigue. The time spent on social media proportionate to other online activities declined across all three regions.

The US, which has been the most dominant market for social media consumption in the last three years dropped from 30 percent of all time spent online to 27 percent. That doesn’t surprise us, since we’ve cut back on the time we spend on social media ourselves, but it may also mean people are becoming more effective at getting whatever results they seek with less time.

In Australia time spent on social dropped from 27 percent to 24 percent while in the UK it dipped from 25 percent to 22 percent year-over-year. This highlights the rise in access via 3G and 4G networks as consumers spend increasingly more time online while on the move.

Average time spent in 2012 by market
UK US AU
Category % time 2012 % time 2011 % time 2012 % time 2011 % time 2012 % time 2011
Adult 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 3%
Business 4% 4% 5% 5% 5% 5%
Email 3% 4% 5% 6% 2% 4%
Entertainment 15% 13% 15% 16% 15% 12%
Lifestyle 4% 3% 4% 4% 4% 4%
News 5% 4% 4% 3% 6% 5%
Shopping 10% 9% 9% 8% 6% 6%
Social 22% 25% 27% 30% 24% 27%
Travel 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1%
Other 31% 32% 27% 23% 33% 33%
Source: Experian Marketing Services

“Understanding consumer behavior across channels is more important than ever as more visits are being made on the move, particularly among social networking and email,” says Bill Tancer , general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

mobile devices

“With smart phones and tablets becoming more powerful, our data clearly indicates the difference between mobile and traditional desktop usage further enabling the ‘always on’ consumer mentality. Marketers need to understand these differences, as well as regionally, to ensure campaigns can be tailored for better and more effective engagement.”

Mobile browsing

Average time spent on US mobile devices – Q1 2013
Category Q1-2013

(h:m:s)

Percentage of time

for 1-hour

Email 0:06:24 23%
Social Networking 0:04:05 15%
Entertainment 0:03:34 13%
Shopping 0:02:59 11%
Travel 0:02:33 9%
Source: Experian Marketing Services

If we analyzed the US browsing data for mobile devices, email accounted for the largest time spent on average, among the same categories for Q1 2013. Email made up 23 percent of time spent on mobile devices for Q1 2013, while social networking accounted for 15 percent.

Entertainment had the third highest time spent with 13 percent, followed by shopping with 11 percent and travel with 9 percent. The mobile data does not include app usage, but does include mobile browsing within an app.

Make sure to read about these and more of the latest consumer trends in our 2013 Digital Marketer Report.

SEC social media guidelines still unclear, survey says

Friday, April 5th, 2013

social mediaTuesday, the SEC issued a statement that social media is an acceptable means for accomplishing disclosure of material information by public companies.

Even after this development, the vast majority (77 percent) of CFOs and investor relations professionals at major public companies do not think the SEC has given enough guidance on how to use social media to disclose company information.

This is according to a new survey conducted by KCSA Strategic Communications, a leading integrated communications firm specializing in financial public relations, investor relations, social media and creative marketing services.

The survey was conducted immediately following the SEC’s announcement. The SEC’s determination was in response to its allegation that Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings , had inappropriately revealed what may have been material company information via Facebook in December 2012.

Hastings’ Facebook post sparked an SEC probe and prompted questioning on how public companies can use social media in order to comply with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD).

KCSA STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS LOGOFollowing the Netflix incident, KCSA’s CEO Jeff Corbin wrote a letter to the SEC proposing a series of Reg FD updates to include social media channels.

KCSA’s survey involved in-depth interviews with leading heads of investor relations at more than 25 public companies in a wide range of industries.  KCSA sought to discover their take on the SEC’s statement, how this may or may not impact public companies’ future communications and how they believe companies can best leverage social media.

According to the results of the survey:

  • 69 percent of companies would like to be able to use social media to disclose company information.
  • 38 percent are currently using social media as part of investor relations.
  • Of the respondents, over half (56 percent) use Twitter, 22 percent use LinkedIn and 11 percent use Facebook. 11 percent also utilize other social media sites such as blogs, Slideshare and StockTwits.
  • While 62 percent of companies are not currently using social media to disseminate material information, 86 percent would be willing to incorporate social media into their investor relations strategies if the SEC provided clearer guidance.

According to Jeff Corbin , chief executive officer of KCSA, “Social media has become a basic part of the communications fabric of investors and companies.

Consumers have become accustomed to engaging in conversations with the companies they follow via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The SEC’s statement Tuesday makes complete sense and demonstrates the regulatory body’s willingness to accept and welcome the 21st Century ways of doing things.  Social media is here to stay, and public companies should embrace this communications medium as a vital and viable way to accomplish disclosure.”

Mobile phones driving revenue growth for major digital stocks

Monday, April 1st, 2013

smartphonesMobile phones are expected to remain the main driver of advertising revenue growth for Internet information providers such as Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), and AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL).

With more and more people switching to smartphones and tablets, the shift to mobile is expected to grow even more. As a result, advertisers are likely to allocate more of their budgets to mobile advertising.

 

While we don’t generally cover the stock market this specifically at the TechJournal, we thought these reports would be of interest to many of you in digital marketing and other tech areas in which these firms are major players.

On Thursday, which was the final trading day of the month of March and the first quarter, shares of Internet information providers ended on a mixed note even as the broad market posted gains.

StockCall has taken an interest in these companies and you can now sign up to download the free technical research on YHOO, ZNGA, LNKD, FB, and AOL at

http://www.stockcall.com/registration

Yahoo!

YahooYahoo! Inc.’s shares struggled in Thursday’s trading session even as the broad market edged higher. Shares of the Sunnyvale, California-based company closed 0.26% lower at $23.53 on above average volume of 17.61 million.

Shares of the company had an excellent run in the first quarter of 2013, gaining more than 18%. In the last one year, the stock has now gained more than 50%, which makes it one of the best performing technology stocks. Yahoo’s shares are currently trading well above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Sign up today to read the free research report on YHOO at

http://www.StockCall.com/YHOO040113.pdf

Zynga

Zynga Inc.’s shares posted modest gains in trading on Thursday. The stock closed 0.30% higher at $3.36 on volume of 9.38 million. Shares of ZNGA are trading nearly 75% below their 52-week high of $13.15. However, the stock has had an excellent run in 2013, gaining more than 42%. The company’s shares currently face stiff resistance at around $4. Register to download the free technical analysis on ZNGA at

http://www.StockCall.com/ZNGA040113.pdf

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn Corp.’s shares fell sharply on Thursday. The stock touched an intra-day low of $175.12 before finishing the day 1.02% lower at $176.06 on volume of 1.23 million. LinkedIn’s shares fell nearly 3% last week even as the broad market posted gains for the week.

For the first quarter, however, shares of LNKD gained more than 53%, compared to a gain of more than 10% for the S&P 500. The company’s shares are trading above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. However, the stock’s MACD has slipped below the signal line, which suggests that market sentiment is bearish on the stock. Free report on LNKD can be accessed by registering at

http://www.StockCall.com/LNKD040113.pdf

Facebook

FacebookShares of Facebook Inc. tumbled in trading on Thursday even as the broad market posted gains. The stock ended the day 1.95% lower at $25.58 on volume of 28.59 million. Facebook’s shares finished nearly 0.60% lower for the week. Its shares are currently trading below their 50-day moving average. The stock currently faces resistance at around $26. Register with StockCall and download the research on FB for free at

http://www.StockCall.com/FB040113.pdf

AOL

AOLAOL Inc.’s shares struggled in trading on Thursday. The stock fell to an intra-day low of $38.14 before finishing the day 1.81% lower at $38.49.

Despite the sharp decline in the session, AOL’s shares have gained more than 7% in the last three trading days. The stock has gained nearly 30% in 2013 so far, easily outperforming the broad market. Read the full free research on AOL by signing up to StockCall at

http://www.StockCall.com/AOL040113.pdf

What makes consumers click?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

social media logosWhy do people share articles and other things online? 33Across, a social sharing and content discovery platform conducted what is says is “first-of-its-kind” research into online sharing behavior reveals some surprising findings.

It also looks at which links are most often clicked when content is shared.

We learned that some of the content we share most often ourselves (and among the most shared overall) such as science and technology articles, have a click-through rate three-times less than the average for all categories.

On the other hand, shopping related content – which is less than one percent of shared items – has a strong clickback rate of 15 percent.

What we Share
33Across examined the sharing rate of 24 content categories by calculating the percent of pageviews that lead to a sharing event.

Surprisingly, consumers share science-oriented articles at a higher rate (12%) than articles on any other subject. In other words, for every 100 science-related articles a person reads online, he or she is likely to share 12 of them with a friend or colleague.

Conversely, the average share rate for the other twenty-three topic categories was less than four percent. Two of the lowest sharing rates include Men’s Media (e.g. health/fitness and relationship articles) at only one percent and Shopping (e.g. product reviews) at less than one percent.

What our Friends Actually Read
Common sense would suggest that content that is frequently shared also gets frequently read by the recipient.

However, the 33Across data indicates otherwise. For example, while science stories are shared at high rates, the percent of clickbacks (link clicks/shares) is only nine percent — while the average for all categories is almost three times higher at 24%.

On the other end of the spectrum, while only one percent of men’s media articles are shared, nearly half of the links (47%) are clicked by the recipient. Shopping-related content — with an even smaller share rate at less than a single percent — has a clickback percent of approximately 15%.

What this means: Astrophysics vs. Kim Kardashian
planetsWhy would an article about Pluto being de-categorized as a planet generate significant sharing but low clickback rate? One common thread among content with high share rates but low clickbacks is a focus on esoteric topics that appeal only to a specific, highly-educated minority.

The fact that users share this content broadly despite the narrow target appeal suggests that the intent is more related to “personal branding” than curating helpful content. In other words, people like sharing content that identifies themselves with specific topics regardless of whether the recipients are actually interested in the topic.

Ego sharing

We call this type of behavior ego sharing.

Categories with moderate share rates and medium clickback rates include Parenting and Consumer Technology content.

A common theme with this type of content is the practical nature of the articles, e.g. how-to’s and product reviews. Clickback rates are higher because the content has utility to the recipient, and has been curated by a personal connection. We call this practical sharing.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

The categories most often associated with sharing — Entertainment and Celebrity content — indeed have high overall levels of sharing activity. However, the sharing rates (2.1% for Entertainment and 1.7% for Celebrity content) remain low as a function of overall consumption.

The implication is that while many people still can’t seem to read enough about the Kardashians, a much smaller percentage choose to proactively share this type of content. Once the content starts to percolate in social media, however, many people click to read more as indicated by the 40% clickback rate.

We call this water-cooler sharing.

What this means: News and Politics
News and Politics have the highest clickback rates of all categories at 86 and 77 percent, respectively.

Our motivations for sharing news are seemingly a combination of ego sharing and practical sharing: as with the former, our egos are boosted by being credited for “breaking” the news to our friends; regarding the latter, we may also be inspired to share in an effort to inform others about new information.

The high clickback rates for News and Politics content parallels the “breaking” nature of these categories and broad consumer interest in the 24/7 news cycle.

Daily Mail’s MailOnline has highest level of social engagement

dailymailWithin the news category MailOnline, the digital sister of The Daily Mail, has the highest level of social engagement as defined by the combination of sharing rate and clickback rate.

“MailOnline has grown to become the #1 news and entertainment site in the world in part due to readers discovering our content through social sharing,” said Sean O’Neal, Global CMO of MailOnline. “Tynt’s category findings validate the extremely high social engagement that we observe every day with our readership.”

“Copying and pasting publisher content is how 82% of online sharing begins,” stated Greg Levitt, GM of Publisher Solutions for 33Across.

“As our category findings reveal, publishers need to move beyond analyzing which content is most frequently shared and also consider the rate at which people click on shared links.”

Digital devices, social media increase productivity, study says

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

social mediaNew research shows that the multitude of digital devices and social media actually help people work rather than hinder them.

The advent of Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and smartphones means people are connected in a multitude of ways leading some critics to believe it is affecting workers’ concentration span and ability to analyse in detail, with some firms even banning the use of social media.

But a study of leading technology companies in the UK, Finland and Germany by Professor Joe Nandhakumar has found that the myriad ways of communicating allows people to be more flexible about when and where they work and more effective.

The Warwick Business School Professor said: “We found that the ubiquitous digital connectivity altered workers’ sense of ‘presence’ and helped rather than hindered the effective completion of collective tasks.

Flexibility fits in with the modern world

“This study also indicates that such digital connectivity afforded workers much greater latitude and control over their timing and location of their work.”

In a paper entitled Exploring social network interactions in enterprise systems: the role of virtual co-presence set to be published in the Information Systems Journal Professor Nandhakumar, Joao Baptista, and Niran Subramaniam, of Warwick Business School, and found that the flexibility social media gave at the workplace fitted in with the demands of the modern world where, frequently, jobs are no longer a straight forward nine-to-five affair.

The Professor of Information Systems also found that the global nature of modern business also means working ‘out of hours’ as workers converse with colleagues around the world.

Information empowers workers

mobile devicesProfessor Nandhakumar dded: “The amount of information now at the fingertips of the modern office worker should not mean they are overloaded, but empowered.

“In academic settings, digital connectivity and interactions are often seen as a positive aspect of our work and an essential part of how we keep up to speed with new knowledge and developments within our field.

“Ubiquitous digital connectivity should be seen not as an unwelcome interruption but as part of the changing nature of knowledge work itself that needs to become part of normal, everyday practices of contemporary organisations.

Time-shifting tasks

“The popular view that workers are passive in responding to their digital communication alerts and notifications, fails to recognize the extent of their ability to exercise choice in their interaction with digital media.

“Even in the case of constant connectivity afforded by mobile digital media, studies suggest that workers are able to respond to communications in their own time, enabling time shifting of tasks by the participants.

“Evidence from our research suggests that knowledge workers who were able to successfully deal with the timing and sequence of their ‘presence’ and responses in a digitally mediated workplace were better able to organise the flow of work through digital media.”

Make sure workers have control

Companies and organisations should make sure their workers can control the flow of information, turning it on and off when needed.

“There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that instead of adopting uncritically popular views of digital connectivity as something disruptive, organisations should instead investigate further,” said Professor Nandhakumar, who has worked with Ford and Nestle.

“They should explore how employees can be better equipped and empowered to manage their time and productivity in this environment.”

Marketing agencies realizing they need this

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Digital marketingIt is becoming more and more apparent to agencies that they need a separate department to handle their digital business, according to Second Wind’s 2012 Annual Agency Survey.

Among responding agencies, more than half (63%) have dedicated digital groups; 32 percent of agencies separate their digital group from the rest of the agency, a 3 percent increase from last year’s survey.

“Digital and interactive services are now an essential part of smaller agencies’ service menus,” said Tony Mikes , founder and Managing Director of Second Wind.

Cross over critical

“The complexity of these services requires specific skill sets not innate to traditional agencies. These older agencies have partnered with, bought and merged with interactive specialists; and interactive firms have merged with traditional firms to better supply the marketing experience and creative insights the interactive firms often lack.”

“But while digital services may require dedicated personnel, it’s critical for the creative and strategic aspects of agency services to ‘cross over.’ Agencies must fully integrate digital with traditional in planning and creative execution. All tactics need to serve the brand and the ‘big idea’.”

More from the Survey Report

The percentage of agency revenue deriving from digital projects is projected to increase from 12 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2012.

Despite the growing need for digital services, smaller agencies are slow to hire digital staff, with 51 percent having 1-2 employees, 32 percent having 3-4 employees and just 17 percent having 5-10 employees.

These digital departments encompass services from website development (96%) to email marketing (92%), social media (90%) and banner ad creation (89%).

Most use Google Analytics

Ninety-four percent of agencies use Google analytics for digital media tracking and analysis, with the other 6 percent using DoubleClick, MediaPlex, Omniture or another resource.

social media logosSocial media has become an important tactic in digital marketing. Agencies are managing and creating their clients’ Facebook pages (86%), Twitter accounts (66%), blogs (66%) and LinkedIn presences (48%).

A growing number of agencies (56%) also monitor and report on client social media activity, with 43 percent relying on HootSuitePro, 20 percent using Radian6, and all respondents using a mix of other social media monitoring packages.

The Second Wind Annual Agency Survey allows Second Wind members to compare their data with average data from other member agencies. It is the most complete survey of smaller to midsize agencies that exists today.

Social media increases business revenue, study says

Monday, March 25th, 2013

social mediaNow there is proof that customers who engage with a business through social media contribute more to the bottom line than customers who do not, said Ashish Kumar, assistant professor of marketing at Aalto University.

“Our study showed that social media activities help strengthen the bond between the customer and the firm. Participating customers on a firm’s social media site contribute 5.6% more revenue and visit the business about 5% more than non-participating customers,” he explains.

In the past there was no individual-level data that connected a customer’s participation in a firm-hosted social media site and their actual purchase behaviors.

Overall sales promoted

Companies questioned whether there was any return on their investment of resources to operate their social media site.

This study proves that building online communities, personalizing messages and encouraging contributions from online members enhances the customer experience as well as increases the frequency of social media visits and promotes sales overall. Such data is important to confirm the pay-offs of social media efforts by firms.

The research showed that the keys to success include maintaining a user-friendly site, sending regular updates about events, personalizing key messages to customers and encouraging interaction from them.

Not all customers respond equally

By fostering an online relationship, customers can be segmented depending upon their purchase history and prior interactions to determine which customers would be best to target with this marketing effort. It is important to note that not all customers respond to social media efforts equally. This makes market segmentation essential.

As a result of this study, business managers now have a better understanding of the return on their investment in social media.

They also now know there is a direct correlation between social media participation and the number of items a customer puts in their shopping basket and subsequently purchases.

By capitalizing on this knowledge, marketing can be focused on creating and nurturing the social media communities that generate the most profits.

This study has been published in a special issue of the journal Information Systems Research on ‘Social Media and Business Transformation’. This study was conducted by Ashish Kumar from Aalto University in collaboration with Rishika Rishika and Ramkumar Janakiraman from Texas A&M University, and Ram Bezawada from the University at Buffalo, New York.

Google funds research into the “social” of Social Networks

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

GoogleGoogle has awarded a multi-year grant to Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s (NYU-Poly) Oded Nov to further his study of the role of design in shaping online behavior.

Nov, an assistant professor in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation, has long focused on social media, and the behavioral aspects of information systems. Working with Mor Naaman of the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, he will embark on an ambitious new two-year project to examine the factors that impact users’ interactions with and contributions to social media.

“In particular, we will focus on the impact of social traces created by users’ feedback and inputs – the social cues about the attributes of the users, their opinions and the community they form,” Nov said. “As in the physical world, your behavior online changes depending on the others around you.”

While in no way connected, this comes on the heels of Facebook reporting that your “likes” on the site reveal much about you – possibly your I.Q., sexual and political persuasion, and even drug use. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that social media’s interactive nature affects much as other communities we may belong to in the real world.

We’ll be interested to see if this study addresses how the apparently never-ending design changes on Facebook, Google+ and other social networks affects their use (other than sparking cries of protest).

Google bestows the Focused Research Award, as the unrestricted grant is known, upon scientists working in areas of key interest to the company as well as to the broader research community.