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In Category: Measurement & Governance


It’s understandable if buyers of social media monitoring services are a bit confused by all the numbers they hear in the market. I spent most of my career in text analytics, and I’ve been surprised at what I hear from monitoring companies about the accuracy of their text analytics.

It reminds me of Nigel Tufnel of the fictional rock group Spinal Tap, who “proved” that his heavy metal band was louder than others by pointing to the dials on their speakers, asserting, “The numbers all go to eleven” (which certainly beats all those other speakers that stop at 10). If you think that the accuracy claims of social media vendors sound a lot like “Ours go to eleven,” you may be right.

Let’s start by looking at what the problem is — or, rather, what the two problems are. After all, when you see the results in a social media dashboard, you need to evaluate two factors at once:

First, you are deciding whether this particular conversation is relevant — is it a conversation that actually talks about the issue that you are monitoring? Second, you want to know whether it is correctly identified as positive or negative. Your dashboard will truly be correct only if the vendor is right on both counts, and both of these problems can be very tricky in text analytics.

For relevance, you might be lucky. If you work for T-Mobile, it’s likely that every mention of “T-Mobile” is actually relevant, so algorithm-based text analytics software can do a good job at that. But if you have the same job at Sprint, you aren’t so lucky because many occurrences of the word “sprint” have nothing to do with phones. For example, such discussions might pertain to a high school track meet.

You might think that the algorithmic software could just look for a capital “S” in “Sprint” to find the right ones, but that doesn’t work very well, for lots of reasons. For example, people often skip proper capitalization when writing in social media, especially from mobile devices.

Read More

by Ben González and Chris Boudreaux

Twitter_bird Dont Replace TweetMeme With Twitter Button (yet)

A lot of folks are still confused about whether they should replace existing TweetMeme buttons with Twitter’s new Tweet button (more info on the Twitter blog), and we recommend the following:

  • For content created prior to July 2010, maintain your TweetMeme button.
  • For content created during or after July 2010, you can use the Twitter button.
  • For blog content, we’re stuck. Blog posts created prior to July need to maintain the Tweetmeme button, but posts created since July 2010 can use the Twitter button. However, the TweetMeme and Twitter plugins do not let you apply the button by post, or based on publish date. You must apply it to all posts or no posts. NOTE: While Twitter has not published a WordPress plugin, a few community members have, for example: here and here.

As of today, the Tweet button from Twitter shows lower tweet counts than existing buttons from TweetMeme. If you replace your TweetMeme buttons, your visitors will see lower tweet counts that on the Twitter button, versus the TweetMeme button.

For example, See this screen shot of Chris Boudreaux’s social media research database on SocialMediaGovernance.com for a quick glance at what the two buttons look like together:

(click to enlarge)

SocialMediaGovernance.com Screen Shot

You can see in the image that Chris added the new, light blue Twitter button to the right of his existing green TweetMeme button, and the two display dramatically different counts (210 for TweetMeme and 76 for Twitter).

While TweetMeme has been working with Twitter for months, Twitter began counting “… a couple of weeks before the launch of the Tweet Button. This means links which have been shared on Twitter before July 2010 will not contribute towards the count”, according to Twitter FAQ.

Therefore, if you trade the TweetMeme button for the Twitter button on content that existed prior to July 2010, your visitors will not see the true count of tweets you have earned.

If you use both buttons, you should review the FAQ on Twitter.com to avoid duplicating content. (See: “I want to use multiple Tweet Buttons on my page. Is there anything I should know?”)

For some, the quibbles of style that pop up by cluttering your articles with two Twitter share buttons are irrelevant when the count is king. Others will default to Twitter’s crisp aesthetic.

You should also consider Twitter’s new ability to auto-suggest up to two relevant accounts after a user retweets, as one potential reason for deploying the new Twitter button.

In any case, we are very interested in hearing your experiences and insights which can help to inform decisions regarding which buttons to deploy.

In an industry where it is more and more difficult for brands to separate fact from fiction and understand the differences between Listening platforms, Forrester Research, led by Zach Hofer-Shall, recently published their review of Listening Platforms: “Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010″, and you can download a complimentary copy from Converseon.

Forrester Wave Listening Platforms Q3 2010

In order to identify the category leaders, Forrester evaluated offerings from nine companies according to 76 criteria, including data sources, textual analysis, functionality, consulting and analysis services, strength of management team, and corporate and product strategy.

Based on performance across these dimensions, the companies were then grouped into four categories: Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders and Risky Bets (see image above).

Converseon, we are pleased to report, was recognized in the Leaders category as one of three vendors that “combine the best offering and go-to-market strategy.” Also, Converseon scored highest for text analysis and the second highest for its consulting and analysis services, strength of management team and corporate strategy. A free copy of the report can be downloaded from our website.

According to Forrester, “Converseon offers a leading product with its “customized for your needs” mentality. There is no standard Converson installation, (Converson) builds a tailored dashboard for its enterprise installation and offers professional services around every step of the Social Intelligence process. Converseon’s model of starting with technology and adding human analysis makes for highly effective data quality, leading custom reports and strong functionality.”

We are especially proud to be one of the very few listening platform providers to remain independent. Our approach enables us to iterate quickly, partner deeply with our clients, and move fast to meet marketplace needs.

We understand the category is still quite young, and that leading brands are looking for solutions not just for today, but for the next years as Social Intelligence evolves and becomes more deeply integrated into the DNA of enterprises. This is an area where Converseon excels.

We focus on designing listening solutions (beyond simple “tools”) to help infuse listening across organizations, for multiple use cases, and to help large enterprises redesign business processes to make the intelligence actionable. This includes governance, policy, infrastructure, training and more.

Perhaps most profoundly, we believe that social media listening is the first step in effective business redesign. All too often, once social intelligence is flowing through an organization, there is a moment of realization: “These are great insights and intelligence but we’re simply aren’t designed to act on this.”

Real-time intelligence requires business process redesign to enable agile movement for competitive advantage. That’s why Converseon remains the only leading provider of Conversation Mining with robust management consulting and activation practices.

Of course, we see others in the industry moving into this space too via joint partnership or rollup/acquisition, and we believe that our strength lies in organic evolution. We are proud that our team is rapidly evolving and our solutions growing. I am also quite excited because some of the most interesting technology and solutions have yet to emerge from our R&D work.

We appreciate the industry recognition for our work, but won’t for a moment rest on our laurels. We have a 24-hour rule here: even with good news, we allow only 24 hours to pass before moving on. And we agree with the general observation of the industry: the best is yet to come.

You can obtain additional information from Forrester.

The Forrester Wave is copyrighted by Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester and Forrester Wave are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. The Forrester Wave is a graphical representation of Forrester’s call on a market and is plotted using a detailed spreadsheet with exposed scores, weightings, and comments. Forrester does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in the Forrester Wave. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change.

Today Converseon is pleased to announce the launch of CHORUS™, the first measurement solution designed to holistically track and measure the relationship between online and offline word-of-mouth.

At Converseon, will have long recognized the need to integrate other measurement approaches to capture not just an individual’s digital persona, but also their offline dimension.   After all, Word of Mouth is an online and offline phenomena.  It is incumbent on brands to understand both these worlds and the interplay.   As such, we are proud today to announce another industry innovation that we have been working on for the last few months.

As a first in its field, CHORUS™ comprehensively fuses advanced social media listening and analysis together with offline word-of-mouth tracking, in partnership with WOM analytics company ChatThreads.

“Until now, online social media listening and offline word-of-mouth tracking have essentially been two parallel universes,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon.  “While an increasing number of brands are measuring online conversation, there has been a significant void in the measurement of online’s impact in offline word-of-mouth, and vice versa.  CHORUS™ solves the problem of how social media conversation impacts the proverbial offline kitchen table discussions.  For the first time brands can clearly understand and measure word-of-mouth in all its forms.”  Key notes that even with the growing proliferation of online social media conversation, an estimated 80 percent of word-of-mouth occurs offline.

Converseon’s proprietary Conversation Mining™ technology, together with the mobile-enabled touchpoint tracking developed by ChatThreads, bridge a long recognized chasm between what is put forth in multi-channel advertising and marketing campaigns, and what enhances brand affinity, stimulates word-of-mouth discussions, and drives purchasing decisions.

CHORUS™ combines, organizes and reports data gleaned via these two methodologies to create unique actionable insights to improve media and message optimization. This product now gives marketers a deeper understanding of what media fuels consumer discussions and decisions.

More details about the announcement are available at http://bit.ly/chorus-solution

Social Media Week is nearly upon us and of course Converseon is deeply involved in the New York City focused events – the highlights for us our ‘The Road from Listening to Activation‘ panel on Thursday Feb 4 and our CTO Jeff Doak appearing alongside Yahoo! researcher Duncan Watts for the ARF’sScience of Social Media‘ event on Tuesday Feb 2.

“The Road from Listening to Activation” – Thursday Feb 4, 10am

Our SVP of Activation, Craig Daitch, will be discussing social media monitoring to inform media and engagement strategy alongside Digitas Emerging Channels Strategist Jon Burg & Andy Von Kennel SVP at RAPP.

The event sold out in a few hours, so apologies if you missed out on a ticket. We’ll be covering the event here on the blog and Twitter (along with photos and video) so be sure to subscribe for the update.

“The Science of Social Media” – Tuesday, Feb 2, 2.30pm

Converseon has been deeply involved with the Advertising Research Foundation for some time precisely for their scientific approach to marketing, and this event should be no different.

Our CTO Jeff Doak, who steers the continual development of our Conversation Mining and other proprietary technology,  will provide our point of view on how “social psychology, user experience, site design, and an effective marketing strategy play into social media participation”.

He’ll be joined by Ned Winsborough, CI Manager, Consumer Networks at General Mills and highly regarded Yahoo! researcher Duncan Watts. Duncan Watts research with Yahoo! has been widely referenced, in particular Smart Company’s interview with him last year ‘Is the Tipping Point Toast?

As with the Converseon event above, we’ll be covering this event in-depth here at the blog with our Director of Social Media Constantin Basturea to provide post-event analysis.

In addition our Converseon team will be attending several other events, so keep an eye out for Paull Young at the New York Times ‘Social Meida and the Haiti Disaster‘ event on Monday and you can have a beer with a number of us at the MediaBistro Tweetup on Tuesday night.

We’re happy to provide a free download of the new Aberdeen report “The ROI on Social Media Monitoring: Why It Pays to Listen to Online Conversation” – just click through to download a free copy.

Converseon sponsored this report and it has some very interesting findings, including:

  • Best-in-Class companies are 2.6-times more likely than Industry Average companies, and 93-times more likely than Laggards, to improve their ability to generate consumer insights that drive new product/service development
  • 78% Best-in-Class companies of Best-in-Class organizations, compared to only 8% of laggards, have improved their year-over-year customer retention rates
  • Best-in-Class companies are 3.3-times more likely than Industry Average companies, and 82-times more likely than Laggards, to improve their ability to identify and reduce risk to the brand

Jeremiah Owyang recently published an interesting post on ‘The Eight Stages of Listening‘ for an organization, this research not only outlines some of the best practices from companies doing the deepest social media monitoring to date, but also how they’re providing value across the business.

Please click through to download your own free copy of the report (link expires: 01/01/2010)

This week the Converseon team is sponsoring, speaking and attending the iMedia Brand Summit in San Diego – certainly one of the online marketing industry’s premier events.

The event has a strong mix of senior brand marketers, leading thinkers and the online media companies leading innovation in the industry. Our Converseon CEO Rob Key is presenting ‘social media from the inside out’ at 10.40am tomorrow join an extremely strong cast of speakers.

Today’s content was headlined by Northwestern University researcher and integrated marketing thought leader Don Shultz, who predictably stole the show. You can tell the quality of a speaker’s presentation by the volume of Twittering during the session, and Don was so on point I nearly wore out my iPhone keypad while racing to keep up with him.

Don had a strong message that marketers need to drive “effectiveness not efficiency” by focusing on influencing the audience based on their media consumption, rather than planning based on media distribution. Don’s own words did best, so here is a series of our tweets from his session:

new-picture-112 iMedia Brand Summit 2009 - Day 1 Report

Another standout session saw comScore chairman and founder Gian Fulgoni and Starcom’s Kim McCarthy run through some in-depth research in ‘The click remains irrelevant: ‘Natural Born Clickers’ Return’. Drawing from data from over 200 different comScore studies they made a compelling case for why marketers need to look beyond just a simple ‘click’ on online ads as a measure of success.

Fulgoni pointed out that 84% of internet users never click on an online ad, and 85% of the clicks on advertisements came from only 8% of internet users. He also called out the disconnect that while 98.9% of ads in any campaign are never clicked on, Forrester have shown that 35% of marketers still measure that way.

Now while the low click through numbers might drive some marketers to despair, the wider comScore data paints a better picture of the real value of online advertising. For example, comScore’s data shows that the top 82% of online campaigns generate an average 22% lift in sales and more widely that online display ads have been proven to be as effective as TV for boosting retail sales in CPG brands, leading to opportunities for a wealth of brands who found TV advertising costs prohibitive but can now drive similar results.

Gian Fulgoni, ComScore Chairman #imediasummit

Stay tuned to our Converseon twitter account for more coverage of this event tomorrow, and we’ll be sure to share more insights from the conference and detail on Rob’s presence right here on the blog.

Converseon worked in partnership with Lion Brand Yarn on the ideation, development and implementation of an enterprise social media strategy. This case study is a submission for the 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards.

The Challenge

Establish an authentic and relevant online voice for a beloved 130 year old crafting company and institute best practices that help build relationships with passionate consumers of online knitting communities.

The Approach

Lion Brand Yarn was not sure if its customer demographic would be likely to engage in social media but was willing to experiment with the new technology in an attempt to engage and connect with its passionate consumer base. They engaged Converseon to help them listen to the online conversation about knitting and crocheting, better understand their customers social media behavior, identify opportunities for engagement and develop a coherent and measurable social media strategy.

The brand’s approach to social media hinged on an open approach to conversation and a employee driven content and relationships. The brand focused on ‘talking’ to its customers and prospects and expanded its efforts in social media as the rigorous measurement framework indicated success. Lion Brand Yarn has taken a long term approach to community building and it is now, 18 months after the initial launch of the Yarncraft podcast, that the brand is seeing the most success and measurable return on investment.

lby-logo-brown Converseon Case Study: Lion Brand Yarn Drives Measurable ROI with Social Media


Lion Brand teamed with Converseon, utilizing our Conversation Mining technology to map the knitting/crocheting online community, identify influential online voices and identify opportunities for engagement in social media. This listening uncovered a deep, interconnected and highly engaged community of passionate users spread across blogs, podcasts and even dedicated knitting/crocheting social networks.

With Converseon’s strategic guidance, the ‘Yarncraft‘ podcast was launched. Hosted by a pair of LBY employees, the podcast was produced bi-weekly and focused on knitting and crocheting topics. The podcast was posted to a dedicated blog, distributed via iTunes and also given away as a CD in store for less tech-savvy consumers. The podcast was designed to be a conversation with customers and knitting community figures moreso than ‘internet radio’ in the broadcast model.

In April 2008, the ‘Lion Brand Notebook‘ blog was launched, providing content and links to other knitting sources. The blog was also powered by Lion Brand employees with content ranging from customer polls for product development through to ‘knit alongs’ that combine online/offline access allowing customers to knit the same project together. The ‘knit alongs’ alone have proven to be a measurable driver of ROI for the brand as each virtual event drives a direct link to increased sales of the yarn featured.


  • Lion Brand is one of the 2009 Internet Retailer’s ‘Hot 100′ Retail Websites, their site receives over 2 million visits a month
  • The podcast regularly has 15-20,000 downloads while the blog attracts tens of thousands of readers each month
  • A Lion Brand survey of 30,000 of their customers found that those customers who have interacted with the brand through social media are 83% more likely to identify as ‘very brand loyal’ than non-social media users and are several times more likely to recommend the brand to others
  • Traffic analysis shows that traffic from social media routinely converts at a much higher rate than most sources, outperforming email marketing and banner ads
  • From June 16 – July 16, 2009 traffic coming from the brand blog to the brand e-commerce website converted at 41.21% higher than the brand’s average traffic.
  • From June 16 –July 16, 2009, the average per visit value of the blog traffic was 39.44% higher than the site average


Lion Brand Yarn initially set out to build relationships with the online knitting community by talking with their customers via a corporate blog and podcast. As a result of an investment in people rather than products, they found themselves with a passionate and brand loyal group of knitters, who not only engage with the brand but impact the bottom line by buying and using products as a result of social media engagement.

Further Resources

PR Week Case Study: Lion Brand Yarn finds success in measured approach to social media,

Slideshare presentation from 2009 Internet Retailer Conference:

In addition, the presentation above is a series of customer endorsements quoted verbatim from a survey of the LBY blog and podcast audience asking them to share their thoughts and feelings about the two venues.

To connect with Lion Brand Yarn online subscribe to the Lion Brand Notebook blog, listen to the YarnCraft podcast, follow them on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Last Wednesday, Mike Moran our Chief Strategist hosted a WOMMA Webinar on Listening 2.0.  The webinar featured presentations from Mark Kovscek, Senior Vice President of the VivaKi Nerve Center and Pauline Ores, Pricipal Analyst, Social Engagement Strategy of IBM.

If you missed it, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.  Below you’ll find  a the Cliff’s Notes version of the webinar, an audio recording of the session and the program slides.

Major Themes:

  • What marks a good Listening 2.0 solution?
  • How companies should use Listening 2.0?
  • Where is the future of listening technology?

What marks a solution as Listening 2.0?

What the technology and service should provide:

  • The ability analyze sentiment, particularly complex commentary such as sarcasm
  • The ability to note complex and multiple mentions of a brand within a consumer conversation
  • The ability to identify key topics and subtopics for your brand’s conversations
  • The ability to demonstrate how topics and conversations are connected to each other and to the brand
  • The ability to integrate multiple data types and imaging to create new more holistic views of the world
  • The ability to create a global and scalable methodology

How companies use should use Listening 2.0

  • Listening should be done at an enterprise level. To be effective it needs to cross over the silos of business units and lead to shared solutions
  • Commit to “being in sync” with the market – be willing to reconsider marketing approach, content development and offerings, it can be about joining and taking their lead
  • Be ready to take action, whether that is internal change or external engagement. To find ROI brands must be ready to take consumer comments to heart

Where is the future of listening technology?

  • Technological improvements in computer translations
  • Advanced tracking of message consumption and how it relates to purchase behavior
  • Predictive modeling of  conversations and conversions

Resources: Twitter commentary , Audio Download, Slide Share

Tomorrow, Wednesday June 24 at 12pm EST our Chief Strategist Mike Moran will lead a free webinar for WOMMA titled ‘Listening 2.0: How the Web is Changing the Way Companies Listen to Their Customers‘.

Here’s the full introduction, courtesy of WOMMA:

Listening 2.0: How the Web is Changing the Way Companies Listen to Their Customers

12 pm Noon EST, June 24
Free for Everyone!

Mike Moran
Chief Strategist

Mark Kovscek

Senior Vice President
VivaKi Nerve Center

Pauline Ores

Pricipal Analyst
Social Engagement Strategy, IBM

The Internet has added new ways for companies to listen, augmenting surveys, focus groups, and other traditional market research. But the first generation of Web listening tools were heavy on automation and light on real insights and actionability. Learn how Web listening is changing, and how your company can take advantage of it now. You’ll also get a sneak peek into what you should expect in the future, so that your company is ready.

Mike Moran is the author of the acclaimed book on Internet marketing, Do It Wrong Quickly, on the heels of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., which is now in its second edition. Mike frequently keynotes conferences on Internet marketing for marketers, public relations specialists, market researchers, and technologists and serves as Chief Strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing agency based in New York City.

Prior to joining Converseon, Mike worked for IBM for 30 years, rising to the level of Distinguished Engineer. Mike writes marketing columns for Revenue Magazine, Search Engine Guide, and WebProNews. Mike can be reached through his Web site (mikemoran.com), which is also home to his Biznology newsletter and blog.

Register for the Webinar!

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