On Wednesday, Facebook announced its long-rumored partnership with Skype to bring video chat to the world’s most popular social networking site. Video chat is just one of the new features Facebook introduced as part of its Facebook Chat overhaul. Facebook created this video, which remi…
The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. IDG research shows that IT professionals are both early adopters of social media and many use it regularly. Ninety percent visit at least one social or business networking site each month. Find out more about the report here. Click here to learn…
Does Social Media Have A Return On Investment? BY: FARHAD MANJOOJuly 22, 2011
This article was found on Fast Company, thought I would share it:)
Do “likes” and retweets add up to sales? Who knows? And who really cares? We’re in the I Love Lucy era of social-media marketing, a golden age of unaccountability.
THIS YEAR, AUDI RAN the first-ever Super Bowl commercial to feature a Twitter hashtag. Did you miss that watershed moment? Don’t feel too bad: The hashtag — #ProgressIs, a take on the carmaker’s line “Luxury has progressed” — flashed on the screen for just a second, near the end of a surreal and entertaining ad that featured millionaires trying to escape from a minimum-security prison, and a cameo by, who else, sax man and Lite-FM staple Kenny G.
In addition to pushing the hashtag on TV, Audi purchased a Promoted Trend ad from Twitter, and it hired Klout, a startup firm that combs through Twitter and Facebook in search of the most “influential” people online. Klout helped Audi find more than 1,100 people to reach out to about the campaign — 200 of them received an Audi travel mug and flashlight. Klout’s Audiphiles tweeted more than 12,000 times about the hashtag, creating a viral chain of Audi-related chatter online. The company then chose the best tweets containing #ProgressIs; the winner, @jetsetbrunette, won a trip to California to test-drive some Audis, and she also got to choose a charity to which Audi donated $25,000.
But what did Audi get out of all these influencers’ tweets? Did the Twitter campaign prompt anyone to consider buying an A8, say, or to go into a dealership to test-drive one? Did seeing the #ProgressIs tweets at least inspire an outpouring of positive brand feelings toward Audi?
The company doesn’t know. “Today the equation to measure that doesn’t exist,” says Doug Clark, Audi of America’s general manager for social media and customer engagement. Audi has a full-time team monitoring its presence on social-media sites, it’s constantly posting new content, and it has even held special events for the most devoted members of the online Audisphere. The best Clark can do to suggest that all this work has paid off is offer a study by Visibli, a social-marketing analytics company, which recently found that Audi has the most “engaged” fans of any entity on Facebook. Audi’s more than 3 million obsessives apparently outshine even Justin Bieber’s minions in their willingness to click the like button.
Clark concedes that, so far, he doesn’t have any numbers to prove that all this engagement has resulted in, you know, selling more cars. Amazingly, the company isn’t too interested in finding out, either. For Audi, Facebook and Twitter “are places where we know tech-minded consumers are active, where they’re seeking to engage with the brand,” Clark says. “But can I say that a fan is more likely to buy an Audi? No.”
Audi, like almost every major brand in the world, is jumping onto Twitter and Facebook in a big way. EMarketer estimates that 80% of companies will participate in social-media marketing this year, nearly double the number of just three years ago. All of them are feverishly working to get consumers to “engage” — to “like,” to tweet, to comment, to share. And they’re spending a tidy sum to do so. According to BIA/Kelsey, a media consulting firm, companies spent about $2.1 billion on social-media advertising in 2010; the number is projected to grow to nearly $8 billion in 2015.
The gold rush has inspired a wave of tech startups, like Klout, that are looking to help firms navigate the tricky social-ad scene. These companies promise to monitor and measure the impact of Facebook and Twitter campaigns, and to find the best ways to boost those efforts. Despite this technology, though, social-media marketing often feels like a throwback to the golden age of TV: At least so far, marketers can’t predict or measure the impact of their campaigns with anything near the precision they’re used to elsewhere online.
What’s more interesting is that brands truly don’t seem bothered by this. Being on the leading front of marketing while not having to account for their efforts liberates them. “We’re trying different ways to help us better understand the ‘value’ of a Facebook like,” says Brad Shaw, Home Depot’s VP for corporate communications and external affairs, echoing several other social-media marketers. “But at this point, revenue is not the intent.” Applied to social media, William Goldman’s famous line about Hollywood would go something like this: Nobody knows anything, and they don’t care. You’re forgiven for wondering: #ProgressIs? #Really?
LATE IN 2007, JOE FERNANDEZ, a young tech-obsessed guy, had to get his jaw wired shut for three months while recovering from surgery. The only way he could communicate with his friends and family, he says, was through Twitter and Facebook. But he found his medically imposed silence to be a revelation, rather than an ordeal. “I could tell people my opinion on anything instantly, and the people who trusted me were acting on what I said,” Fernandez says. “It hit me that for the first time, word of mouth was becoming scalable and — even more important — the data about all of these interactions were available.”
Fernandez quickly began working on a way to tie all these data into a comprehensive picture of each of our online lives. What he came up with was Klout’s signature product, the Klout Score, an integer from 1 to 100 that summarizes every person’s influence online. The score is determined by a number of factors — including how influential your followers are and how many people retweet or respond to things you say online. It has become, in some circles, an important measure of influence. People are reputedly putting Klout Scores on their résumés, and a few brands, such as Las Vegas’s Palms Hotel, are using Klout to identify potential online VIPs for preferential treatment. Justin Bieber, of course, is the king of Klout: He has a perfect 100. Everyone else is second fiddle. Barack Obama gets an 87, the Dalai Lama gets an 86, and Jay-Z struggles with a mere 67. (For the record, I earn a 64 — good enough for “thought leader” status and probably the only time I’ll be this close to Jay-Z in any public ranking.)
Klout has now amassed enough data to measure the influence of 75 million people online, and it can slice and dice these numbers. For instance, Fernandez says Klout can identify the most influential people who talk about sneakers in Seattle, or the most-listened-to tweeters on skin-care products in San Francisco. When companies come to Klout looking to target those influencers, the company can track how their messages echo across the social-media landscape. How many extra tweets did Nike get by focusing on those Seattleites?
But what Fernandez can’t track is what happens when people read all those comments or tweets: Does the marketing change anyone’s feelings about Nike? “I think we’ll get there eventually,” he says, musing that over time, brands will give Klout — and other social-data-analysis companies — sales information to correlate with online chatter. Still, the problem won’t be easy to solve. For one thing, social-media marketing, unlike search ads, catches most customers when they’re far away from making a purchase decision. This makes it menacingly difficult for firms to determine what ultimately led to a purchase. Was it something you saw on Twitter or Facebook three weeks ago, or was it the drive-time radio spot you heard this morning?
Wildfire CEO Victoria Ransom is bringing corporate Facebook fan pages to life via contests and sweepstakes. | Photograph by Robyn Twomey
That gets to the second reason that social-media marketing hasn’t yet proved itself: So far, advertisers aren’t asking for any proof, and that limits the ability of firms like Klout to figure out if what they’re doing really works. “My life becomes a million times easier if I can show that if you spend $1 with us, you get $1.10 out,” Fernandez says. But for many big brands, the amount of money being dedicated to marketing on Facebook and Twitter is small compared with the rest of their advertising expenses. “For a lot of our clients, what they’re spending with us is coming out of their ‘experimental’ marketing budgets,” he says. In other words, they don’t feel much pressure to account for their efforts. “No brand is challenging us on this. We challenge ourselves way harder than any brand does.”
One current alternative is to embrace less sexy, but more Internet-friendly, direct-response advertising models. “Sweepstakes, contests, and coupons have always been popular, long before the Internet was around,” says Victoria Ransom, CEO of Wildfire Interactive, another Silicon Valley advertising startup. Like Klout, the three-year-old firm was founded by accident. Ransom and Alain Chuard came upon the idea while running their previous company, a global adventure-travel firm. They wanted to expand their firm’s Facebook presence, “but we realized pretty quickly that we were going to have to give people a reason to become fans of our page,” Ransom says. The company had run sweepstakes on its site before, but it found that translating those to Facebook wasn’t very easy. “We figured we weren’t the only ones facing that challenge,” she says. The company created a way for all kinds of businesses to create their own promotional applications on Facebook. “Within a few weeks, we’d received calls from both Kayak and Zappos,” Ransom says. “We went, ‘Oh, maybe this will be bigger than we thought it would be!’ “
Wildfire’s twist is making sweepstakes and contests social. They’re built as Facebook apps, and they’re promoted widely on Twitter. Ransom says that Wildfire can often track the success of its campaigns by integrating with its customers’ transaction databases. For instance, the firm recently ran a promotion for Jamba Juice that allowed people to collect a “lucky” coupon from Jamba’s Facebook page. You’d only find out the value of the coupon if you took it to a Jamba Juice store, and some of the coupons would pay out cash prizes of up to $10,000. The campaign drove tens of thousands of people to Jamba Juice locations; every time someone used one of Wildfire’s coupons to make a purchase, the smoothie chain could credit that customer to the promotion.
Still, Wildfire’s campaigns suffer from a problem that’s common with social-media marketing: Because they’re so new, and because they often depend on catching uncertain viral cascades, their performance is difficult to predict. “If we put a dollar in the Google machine, we know exactly what’s going to come out,” says David Sobie, VP of business development at HauteLook, a Nordstrom subsidiary that runs a members-only, daily-discount fashion site. Sobie has run many campaigns with Wildfire, and he says, “We’re often surprised — things that we didn’t think were going to take off have been incredibly successful. And others, where all the metrics suggested that something should have been successful, have turned out not to be.”
Klout CEO Joe Fernandez, right, is creating an “influence graph” for social media and then adding brands to the mix. | Photograph by Robyn Twomey
NOT LONG AGO, I was offered a tour of the customer-service department of the future. It’s a bright, gleaming space; costs almost nothing to operate; and boasts the friendliest, most knowledgeable representatives in all of American commerce. Where is this call center? And who runs it?
It’s online. And it’s run by you. Lithium, a 10-year-old company based in Emeryville, California, builds and hosts online discussion forums for companies to let their customers help themselves, and it’s one example where social media already seems to be helping companies pay the bills. For companies like Comcast, which have high-profile rapid-response complaint centers, Lithium’s technology has revolutionized customer-service operations, usually an expensive part of the business. CEO Lyle Fong estimates that Lithium’s work revamping AT&T’s online community resulted in AT&T saving 16% on telephone customer support in January 2011 compared with 2010.
We’re a long way from Bieberville, but this being social media, no one wants to talk just about minimizing call volume. At Home Depot, Lithium powers a vibrant discussion site where customers discuss home-improvement projects and the products and instructions to use them. “We can look at how your users interact with each other on your site,” Fong says, “and we can tell you, ‘Hey, here are your community members who are going to be your most passionate fans, and if you treat them right, they’re really going to give back.’ ” At Sephora, another Lithium client, the discussion site has become a place where some of the company’s most feverish fans — women who spend 10 times more than the typical customer — log many hours offering advice to everyone who comes along.
Sephora hasn’t calculated all the additional sales that this system has generated, nor the labor it might be saving now that its best customers, rather than employees, are answering people’s beauty dilemmas. Bridget Dolan, Sephora’s VP of interactive media, says that at some point, the company may decide to do just that. Right now, though, “we aren’t saying, ‘Does every dollar we spend turn into revenue?’ ” she admits. “No one here is hounding me for the ROI.”
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2011 issue of Fast Company.
But unofficial calculations, arrived at by using data from the advertising tools that Facebook provides, suggest that in the United States (as well as in Canada and Britain) the number of active users has recently fallen. Inside Facebook, the analysts responsible for these calculations, acknowledge that other third-party measures show Facebook continuing to grow in its home market. But at the least, the rate of growth seems to be levelling off. Facebook’s spectacular growth has relied on it being the cool place to be, the place where your friends are hanging out. But fashions can change, as MySpace and other, older social networks have found to their cost.
This is one of my favorite infographs to date:) Enjoy!!
Infographics mocking infographics
Diagrams Rule by Think Brilliant This is my personal favorite, because it looks like there’s so much stuff going on, but there really isn’t. As you’ll see, most meta-infographics make the same jokes, not adding much that hasn’t been done before - which, of course, is appropriate.
Infographs Are Ruining the Internet by Less Everything This whimsical specimen was introduced with a caveat: Our illustrations were done by “derri_hasmi at yahoo.co.id”, although proofreading the infograph before you publish is recommended. If you wanted real data, just hire a virtual assistant to find the data you need for $3 an hour. This infograph took us 15 minutes of communication time and $150 to the illustrator.
Facebook’s growth has become a thing of legend, but a recent report suggests it may have lost ground in parts of North America. The world’s largest social network soared past its competitors to reach half a billion users in July 2010, and fueled by strong international growth, it’s poised to reac…
Possibly, but Groupon and Living Social are not part of it. That’s because they are not like technology companies at all in terms of business model.
After all, Groupon is at its core a sales company that:
Hires lots of sales people
Gets sales people to contact small local businesses to offer step discounts and then asks for a large portion of sales
Uses a large portion of revenue to pay for sales people + online ad space
At the heart of it, other than posting discounts through an online medium, there is nothing really technology related about Groupon and Living Social. What do I mean by this? Most technology companies have an element of scalability.
Tech companies are valued at a premium because the cost of production per product sold reduces drastically. After you “finish” a product, the margins are high.
This feature is non-existent with Groupon and Living Social. Each portion of revenue requires a sales person. Repeat business is low. The companies will always need sales people which will always lead to low margins no matter how mature the company is. The same goes for the necessity of ad space purchasing to drive in consumers.
What Groupon and Living Social really are
So at the heart of things, Groupon is better described as a reseller of discounted products sold in bulk. During these transaction, the businesses at hand typically face a large loss per sale in exchange for publicity. Due to this, most transactions with customers are one off.
This is critical. Think logically about how sustainable this is. Does this model ever reach a point where it is radically more profitable on a margin basis? No. Do economies of scale exist? Not really.
Now think about this, what other technology companies could execute the same general concept but with a more scaleable platform? Unfortunately, pretty much everyone:
Google - Two commonly used portals with search and gmail. This large impression base can be used to indicate group discounts. Due to a lower necessity of sales people, the process of giving discounts can be done in an automated process which means better rates. Instead of paying 50% of sales to Groupon (which is already at a large reduced price), they can pay a smaller set percentage. Google maps is integrated on many smartphones. Google can have local discounts pop up on your phone theoretically on the fly as you are near locations with discounts. This is infinitely more useful for impulse purchases. This also offers better margins to both the client and to google itself.
Twitter - A large portal that is commonly visited. It is now integrated heavily into iOS which allows for the same local smartphone notification possibilities.
Facebook - The company that leads everyone else in online impression time, they can get the message for potential discounts out cheaply. It would be integrated. Given the creation of a platform for local buyers to easily offer discounts, Facebook could do what GroupOn does without any salespeople.
Yelp - people do reviews of businesses. People check these reviews. Imagine searching for restaurants and finding out one close to you has a large discount offered. Better model, less sales people needed.
Foursquare - people check in and get discounts. Now people have alerts around their geography showing discounts.
Every major new tech company that people think about can offer what Groupon offers, and in many cases with a better business model. That is a fundamental problem that can not be ignored.
Sorry, guys — unless you have a verified Twitter account, there’s no way you’re getting into this super cool, super exclusive website. And boy, are you missing out. Actually, we don’t really know if you’re missing out on anything, because we’ve only managed to go so far ourselves, thanks to e…
Jack Dorsey may have trouble defining Twitter, the information network he helped to create, but Apple seems less confused. The highly valued technology company has built Twitter into iOS 5, essentially making it the default social graph and social network on Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPa…
Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks. Friends are a many splendored thing — and it’s natural to carry them in one’s heart throughout one’s ever-storied life. It seems a little extreme, however, to tattoo them on one’s arm. …
Dodge goes the flash mob route in San Diego – Click above to watch video after the jump The concept of a flash mob sounds like such an event could potentially be terribly annoying. In practice (and as anyone who watches Modern Family would know…), though, these flash mobs often wind up being rather entertaining. Everyone involved looks to be enjoying themselves, and the crowd gets a free show.
Naturally, every now and then, a corporation will grab onto any new trend that has the chance to go viral, and catching a flash mob on video sounds like a good place to start.
Dodge decided to get into the improv mob game, and a full scale dance session broke out at San Diego’s Rock & Roll Marathon. The mobsters wore Dodge t-shirts, while a new Charger and Durango lurk quietly in the parking lot behind them. How’d it all shake it out? Click past the jump for the video. Let it rock, Dodge Boys.
As more automakers move towards adding social media in cars, Transportation secretary Ray LaHood, has a word of advice: Stop. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, LaHood said he is lobbying automakers not to add features that could distract drivers. “There’s absolutely no reason for any person…
This is a great article that continues to discuss the ongoing debate over Social Media Experts. After reading it, I am proud to say that I am a professional or a student of Social Media, I refuse to say I am an expert, ninja or a guru:) enjoy….
It’s not so hard to make your ad go viral. All you need is access to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. It also helps if you’re Google. At least that’s the conclusion we’ve drawn from the Mashable Global Ads Chart Top 20, a new monthly rundown we’ve created with Unruly Media. However, if you can’t g…
Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery Last week, General Motors unveiled its radically styled ChevroletMi-ray Concept at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show. The concept supposedly pays tribute to Chevy’s sports car heritage while packing some seriously modern technology.
The Seoul Motor Show Organizing Committee asked journalists to vote on vehicles in these three categories: Best Concept Car, Best Green Car and Best Passenger Car. The Mi-ray, which made its world debut in Seoul, took home the “Best Concept Car” award. Upon receiving the accolade, GM Korea president Mike Arcamone offered these words:
This honor is even more special as it was given to Chevrolet’s first concept car displayed in Korea at the brand’s very first stand at a domestic auto show.It recognizes Chevrolet’s future vision and new ideas. Chevrolet will continue to bring new vehicles with innovative design and technology to Korea.
The Mi-ray is powered by a pair of front-mounted 15-kilowatt electric motors, mated to a 1.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The electric motor propels the Mi-ray at low speeds, with the vehicle’s mid-mounted, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine kicking in to offer a boost in power as needed. Though only a concept, GM says that the Mi-ray “points to the future of Chevrolets around the globe – expressive, youthful and entertaining.” Sounds like a winning combination.source: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/04/11/chevy-mi-ray-wins-best-concept-car-award-seoul-motor-show/