August 31, 2014 by
The ALS Association (ALSA) — which fights Lou Gehrig’s disease by funding research, supporting people with the condition and fostering government partnerships — this weekend has now collected over $100 million dollars from a viral social media campaign. Over the same period last year, they collected $2.6 million.
A viral social media campaign is a buzzword that refers to a tremendous increase in brand awareness from word of mouth enabled by social networks and the internet.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has its fans and critics. But there’s no denying, for a very worthwhile organization, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated tremendous awareness and financial success. It is likely to go down in history as one of the most successful viral social media campaigns, ever; and to serve as a model for other non-profits and profit organizations who will attempt to duplicate this level of success for their causes.
Without question, donations and time to results are key metrics to be included as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). But social media has played a key role. What metrics do we use to make the connection How doe we create an actionable scorecard?
Here are 16 social media metrics for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to watch.
- KEYWORD TRENDS: The chart at the top is from Google Trends. It is an index that measures increases and decreases in keyword search volumes. In this case, “ALS” and the “Ice Bucket Challenge” were plotted. As you can see, increases in “Ice Bucket Challenge” have had a direct affect on interest in the “ALS.”
- KEYWORD SEARCH VOLUME: The average monthly keyword search volume for ALS is now 550,000 according the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Ice Bucket Challenge is 2900 showing how awareness has been transferred..
- WEBSITE RANK: The organization’s website, alsa.org, is now ranked as the 648 most viewed website in the US and 4.192 in the world (an improvement in rank of 168,792 within 3 months) according to Alexa. For perspective, the #1 website is Google; #2 is Facebook and #3 is YouTube. This is quite an accomplishment proving the campaign has driven people from social media to the website where they can donate.
- WEBSITE LINKS: There are now 3,248 other sites linking and driving web traffic to alsa.org. Among the biggest are YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia and Reddit.
- WEBSITE ANALYTICS: Although only the ALSA has access to the Google Analytics of their website, Unitque Visitors, Traffics Sources. particularly the social networks, and Key Content (Web Pages) would be primary measurements. Website Analytics are often overlooked as social media metrics when they are often the most valuable.
- CONVERSION RATE: Of course, the Donate page would be a key web page from which to track the Conversion Rate about visitors and people who donated. The Conversion Rate should be monitored weekly and measured against the Conversion Rate a year ago.
- VIDEOS: Since videos are central to this campaign, YouTube is the first social network to examine. There are 6,000,000 videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challengea now posted on YouTube.
- MOST VIEWED VIDEOS: Among some of the most viewed videos and their numbers are Bill Gates (18,465,237), Simpsons (11,567,782) and a compilation of the Failed Attempts (17,903,561).
- VIDEO SUBSCRIBERS: On YouTube, there are two channels dedicated to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; one was created by Zoomin and has 34,832 subscribers; the official ALSA channel has only 1,962 subscribers.
- YOUTUBE ANALYTICS: ALSA could know from looking at their YouTube Analytics where geographically viewers came from, how long they watched and what type of device (desktop or mobile) they viewed the video.
- SENTIMENT ANALYSIS: Since there are fans and critics of the effort, sentiment analysis plays a key role in the evaluation of any viral marketing campaign. According to Social Searcher, the ratio of positive to negative comments has been 3:1 overall. But it differs widely by social network. Facebook is 7:3; Twitter is 2:3 (more negative than positive) and Google+ is 9:1. Another social search engine, Topsy, which is predominantly influenced by Twitter reports a positive to negative ratio of 27% to 73%. This indicated targeted resources are required to manage conversations from a viral social media campaign.
- LIKES: The ALS Association Facebook page has 319,000 Likes. It was growing at a triple digit weekly rate. However, after just a few weeks, the rate has slowed and is now beginning to decline. This provides learning on what should be expected as the life cycle of viral social media campaigns.
- PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS: Facebook also has a measure called “People Talking About This.” It is an algorithm of people who Like, Comment or Share conversations that are occurring on a particular Facebook page. For the ALS Association, there are over 470,000 People Talking About This for the ALS Association – more than Like the organization. This is rare. According to WOMMA, a normative rate rate of People Talking About This to Likes is 1%. This shows the virility of the campaign.
- HASHTAGS: There are numerous hashtags on the Ice Bucket Challenge – such as #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge and #StrikeOutALS. All of which can be measured for Likes, Shares and Comments to show the level of sentiment and engagement for this event.
- TWEET VOLUME: Within the past 30 days, according to Topsy, there have been 8.7 million Tweets for the Ice Bucket Challenge. In the past 7 days, the number is 2.4 million Tweets. But, it looks like it’starting to fall. It’s now 160,,000 per day (1.2 million weekly rate) to 6,000 in the last hour (1.0 million weekly rate).
- KEY INFLUENCERS: Participants been a key to the success of this campaign. From politicians (George Bush, Barak Obama), business leaders (Mark Zuckerberg) to celebrities (Matt Damon, Charlie Sheen), many people of influence have given their implied endorsement by taking the Ice Bucket challenge. The quantity and quality of these participants are a key metric.
Rutgers Business School Executive Educative, where I teach, has a Social Media Marketing Mini-MBA for Non-Profits. Donna Dourney York, was a participant in the program. Donna has made amazing progress changing the way people perceive ALS.
Do you think these are social media metrics the ALS Association should watch? Did this help you understand how to use metrics to guide success for viral social media campaigns?
August 24, 2014 by
Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic.
Off-site web analytics refers to the measurement of a website’s potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the internet as a whole. On-site web analytics measures a visitor’s behavior once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions.
Taken together, web anlaytics provides a complete picture of your audience and their attitudes and behaviors toward your brand. Web analytics is the most valuable, useful, cost-effective and timely resource a business has to answers key strategy questions.
Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics software. Google Webmaster Tools shows traffic for each keyword separately; it gives more information about website performance. There is even a Google Analytics Academy to learn all about how to use web analytics done online on the participant’s schedule. They’re all free to use so there’s no reason a company shouldn’t dedicate some time and attention to examining web analytics.
If you need more convincing, here are 37 key strategy questions web analytics answers.
WHO ARE OUR CUSTOMERS?
- Who do we attract?
- Who do we want to attract?
- Who is visiting for the first time?
- Who is returning for more visits?
- What cities or countries are most people visiting from?
- What search keywords are sending us traffic?
- What percent of traffic comes from mobile devices?
- Who are our most valuable segments?
- Who is worth doing marketing efforts to based on their business potential?
- Are we doing better or worse?
WHAT ARE THEIR BEHAVIORS TOWARD OUR BRAND?
- What actions do people take?
- Are they taking the actions we want?
- How do people find us?
- How do people travel through the site?
- What sort of experience do we create for our users?
- What percent of users view at least 3 pages per visit?
- What percent of users remain on site for at least 3 minutes?
- Where do our most active visitors come from?
- Where do visitors click?
- Where are our most valuable users coming from?
- Who shares our content?
- What content works best?
- What percent of users comment on content?
- Who recommends us to a friend?
- What social networks and social media metrics are worth tracking?
- What do they buy from us?
HOW DO FIND MORE PEOPLE LIKE THEM?
- How do we find more people like the ones who are most valuable customers?
- How long does it take for someone to decide to do business with us?
- How do we know if our site is doing well relative to competitors?
- How do we know if our marketing efforts are working?
- How has advertising worked?
- Was advertising worth it?
- How can we identify the ideal marketing mix?
- How do analytics help us understand how the business can make the most revenue and profits?
- What key metrics should be used for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- What is the best way to measure ROI?
Do the answers to these questions matter to your business? Do they convince you to dedicate time and attention to web analytics? Does your company need to learn how to use web analytics better?
August 17, 2014 by
- 91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
- 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
- 40%-60% annual growth increase is occurring in the volume of data available every year; in media intensive sectors and financial services, the increase is 120% (source: Fathom)
The facts indicate company leaders believe understanding data is a critical component to business growth. And more of it is coming at us in ever increasing rates.
Data visualization is the art and practice of gathering, analyzing, and graphically representing empirical information. More and better data visualization tools have come to market from software services like Tableau, Fusion Charts, Google Charts and Visual.ly to help better display data. So, there is no reason business leaders shouldn’t be able to fulfill their data dreams.
But it’s not the data. It’s what you do with it.
Software doesn’t find the insights in the data, people do. Before companies jump into Big Data, they should be asking: Have we mastered the principles of little data?
To help, here are 8 guidelines for great data visualization.
- BEGIN WITH BASIC DATA PRESENTED AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE: Great data visualization begins with measurements that are readily available, come from a reliable source and are easy to understand. For example, the line chart below for a coffee shop chain uses just profits by key beverage and time. But it shows very clearly what types of drinks are going to be the most profitable and when. It gives all the information the owner requires to order, promote and maximize revenue and profits.
- CHOOSE AXISES THAT ADDRESS KEY STRATEGIC ISSUES: If you want data to provide answers, you have to set it up by addressing the right questions. How you choose and define your axises serves as a primary guide. The chart below plots software companies based on based on their “vision” and “ability to execute.” The axises address a key strategic issue that can provide answers like likely winner and losers based on positioning and competitive advantage. The company data is telling because the criteria is clear.
- PROVIDE A USABLE LEGEND: The definition of the legend plays an important role in motivating action. The data visualization below of expenditures per student for New York state schools offers a telling picture of where education monies are going, what are areas of greatest need and how they might be redistributed.
- ESTABLISH SEGMENTATION: If you want actionable insights from data, it helps to establish segments or groupings that create differentiation. The chart below shows the Top 100 Entrepreneurs, divided into three segments. From this chart, it’s clear that not all entrepreneurs are created equal. If you want to understand what makes great entrepreneurs, the data tells you to focus on the “Rocket Ship” segment and probe into what makes them tick.
- FACILITATE DISCERNMENT WHEN SHOWING A TIME SERIES OR GEOGRAPHY: When showing time or geography, incorporate colors, coding, history or forecasting to provide perspective or context that shows where things are headed. The “stacked graph” below on unemployment in the US by industry (time series) and the cost of chronic disease care (geography) show how how to display time series and geographic data, effectively.
- IDENTIFY CLUSTERS: When looking at many variables, use clusters to show the data in ways that creates groupings that lead to conclusions. The Cluster Analysis below was created to identify the college basketball teams that were most likely to win the NCAA’s based on defense. As you can see, clustering the many variables that were examined helps to clearly show the teams that have the most potential.
- TELL A STORY WITH THE DATA: Good data analysts are storytellers. Effective data visualization is often helped with text. Simple headlines or text boxes help explain what the data is saying and the actions that should be taken. This example below from Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, shows how data visualization might be presented to the C-Suite.
- CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: The data dashboard your company creates should be based on Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are one of the most over-used and little understood terms in business development and management. They are too often taken to mean any metric or data used to measure business performance.The role KPI’s play is much bigger and more important. In fact, KPI’s are one of the most important guideposts for any business. Every business should have them. Here’s one of the best definitions I’ve heard: KPI’s are an actionable scorecard that keeps your strategy on track. They enable you to manage, control and achieve desired business results. The KPI dashboard below for a call center is simply laid out, easy to understand for decision making and incorporate a little from each of the previous critical components.
If your business needs help using data to make better decisions and ROI, consider BarnRaisers, because that’s what we do. Or, considering taking a Mini-MBA from the Rutgers Business School Executive Education where I teach Measurement and ROI.
Do these key components help you see how data visualization can help your business?
August 10, 2014 by
Walmart is the world’s largest public corporation, biggest private employer and largest retailer. It is still a family-owned business.
Walmart also has a big social media presence. Walmart has:
Why? What does Walmart know that the rest of us can learn?
Here are 10 lessons on Walmart’s social media strategy for every business.
- START WITH A GOAL: Walmart’s goal for social media is to ensure that customers and potential customers understand that the discount store has the lowest prices in the industry and that Walmart’s mission is to help them save money so they can live better lives. That’s according to Chad Mitchell, Senior Director of Digital Communication. Because the company is often a target for controversial press, a second objective is to use social media to protect, defend and enhance Walmart’s reputation.
- TRAIN EMPLOYEES: The company trains it’s employees on its mission. They encourage storytelling. to solidify Walmart’s brand and the values its founder established more than 50 years ago.
- ESTABLISH GUIDELINES: There are guidelines on engagement, location-based promotions for associates and “Walmart Moms” who post or publish.
- HAVE A PURPOSE FOR EACH SOCIAL NETWORK: Walmart’s role for Twitter is to ask very basic questions of its users: “What’s happening?” By having a number of Twitter accounts, Walmart aims to provide information on Walmart’s major activities and initiatives – from sustainability to diversity, from healthier foods to charitable giving. Walmart uses Facebook to communicate specific values that are occurring every day at both the national level and in each of its 3,500-plus stores.
- SEGMENT BY AUDIENCE INTERESTS: The company has Twitter handles with @WalmartHub being the “parent” handle that only Re-tweets the best performing content from the other handles, The other accounts feature the following topics:
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY: On Facebook, Walmart ambitious My Local Walmart program establishes individual Facebook fan pages for its 3,500-plus stores, It also involves a Facebook App that stores can use to communicate sales, specials and other updates with fans in their local area. But, local stores haven’t been using their pages that effectively. There is learning and improvements Walmart has to make as does any business that use social media so broadly.
- MAKE YOUR BLOG A COMMUNITY AND KEEP IT REAL: “Walmart Moms” started in the late 2000′s, They’ve always been real moms who are bloggers. Their role is simply to represent the voice of all moms; to tell and help others understand the daily challenge and triumphs of Moms. Participation in “Walmart Moms” is voluntary.
- ENGAGE FREQUENTLY: On any given day, Walmart posts on Facebook between two and five updates, including weekends, and most achieve an impressive number of responses from its Fans. Most of its posts achieve tens of thousands of Likes and hundreds of comments, with pictures of pets and children proving to be particularly popular. Walmart adds about 9,000,000 new Likes every 6 months.
- LISTEN TO THE DATA: WalmartLabs uses such spikes in social network chatter to predict demand for out-of-the-ordinary products, In 2011, their team correctly anticipated heightened customer interest in cake-pop makers based on social media conversations on Facebook and Twitter. A few months later, it noticed growing interest in electric juicers, linked in part to the popularity of the juice-crazy documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The team sends these data to Walmart’s buyers, who then use it to make their purchasing decisions.
Your business is not likely to be the scale of Walmart but these lessons should give ideas on areas you should be thinking about. Are there lessons from Walmart’s social media strategy that apply to your business? Which ones are the most relevant?
August 03, 2014 by
Native Advertising is not a new idea. Advertisers, publishers and marketers have created numerous offerings that blend branded advertising with editorial content. In the past, there have been media properties like advertorials and e-zines. They had their day in the sun and then faded into the sunset.
Is Native Advertising, like its predecessors? Or isn’t it?
Native advertising is a concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). This aspiration is advertisers and publishers aspire to deliver paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.
The suite of ad products is:
- IN-FEED UNITS: Is in a publisher’s normal content well; is in story form to match the surrounding stories and allows for an individual to play, read, view or watch without leaving to a separate page.
- SEARCH ADS: Present their content in a format and layout that is readily available to organic search engine results and links to a page like the organic results.
- RECOMMENDATION WIDGET: Is a form of native advertising where an ad or paid content link is delivered via a “widget.” A common recommendation widget unit is integrated into the main well of the page, does not mimic the appearance of the editorial content feed, links to a page off the site.
- PROMOTED LISTING: Is found on sites that typically do not have a traditional editorial content well, they are designed to fit seamlessly into the browsing experience, are presented to look identical to the products or services offered on a given site.
- IN AD: Is placed outside of the editorial well, contains contextually relevant content within the ad, links to an offsite page, has been sold with a guaranteed placement so the agency knows exactly what content will surround it,
- CUSTOM/CAN’T BE CONTAINED: There is no limit to the possibilities when an advertiser and publisher work together on custom units. This group includes examples that don’t neatly fit into one of the above groups, or, as in the case of custom playlists, are too platform-specific to warrant their own category but need to be on a marketer’s radar as native advertising options.
The IAB is conducting a special E-course on Native Advertising in August. There will be three different courses; one on August 5, 12 and 19. I’m teaching this E-course.
But is Native Advertising going to stick around? 12 experts tell us if Native Advertising is or isn’t here to stay.
- What native advertising has done is take the old advertorial model and given it a big shake up… what we do now is create content that doesn’t necessarily talk about the brands, as this is not what connects with readers. - Inez Albert, APAC
- We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop. - Doug Anmuth, J.P. Morgan
- Native advertising is one of the most promising ways of engaging consumers with brands. A recent native advertising test by Hearst within Harper’s Bazaar produced a click-through rate of up to 1.5% compared to the industry average of 0.1% on traditional online banner ads. - Alex Attinger, Digitalbox
- Native ads can be effective if there is a solid strategy behind them and the ads are measured appropriately. With many large websites making a majority of their revenue from native ads, it looks as if they are here to stay. – Alison Blumer, Ine.
- Native Advertising is really advertising that is disguised within the context of editorial content, and studies have shown that consumers believe that such advertising is misleading. – Ari Brandt, MediaBrix
- With native advertising old things are new again, even if the “new” is evolving and developing at an incredible speed. – Kim Davis, Ripley PR
- Brands spend massive amounts of money on paid media. Instead of trying to convince an audience what the brand wants them to do, the advertiser should instead invest that same money in creating content the audience finds useful. – Sam Ford, Peppercom
- For native advertising to work and engage relevant users, advertisers must deliver valuable content that indeed deserves to match the form and function of a site. - Stefanie Mosca, MNI
- It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read. – David Ogilvy
- Native advertising is a disruptive technique that is positioned to change the advertising business model. For content marketers, native advertising has unique implicatons. It opens up a method of content distribution many marketers have ignored, making it a potential key to getting more eyes on your content. – Mark Sherwin, Content Marketing Institute
- The basic rules make sense but where does native fit with muck-raking, awkward, scurrilous, investigative journalism? Native surely won’t want to be associated with highly controversial stories. - Raymond Snoddy OBE
- Brands will need to increase their budgets and plan better campaigns. Publishers will need to better integrate native ads so the ads do not interrupt the reader experience and are honest, ethical and transparent. Consumers will need to warm up to the new form of advertising which is meant to be helpful and engaging. - Danny Wong, Blank Label
Do you believe Native Advertising is or isn’t here to stay? Will you be attending the E-course on Native Advertising from the IAB?