I just finished participating in a Digiday panel on big data management in beautiful Deer Valley, UT where I warned about an over-infatuation with technology, to the exclusions of people. Indeed, many conversations today make it seem as if humans are simply a tangental voyeur to the vast processing intelligence of our evolving algorithms.
That is far from the truth.
Machines and technology do some things wonderfully well. They churn through vast amounts of data — searching for anomalies and patterns — and machines help to filter the signals from the noise. But the signals have to be interpreted by humans to spark the insights that can change a business. No machine has yet developed much of a creative streak.
We see this every day in our Conversation Mining technology. Instead of using algorithms to interpret the meaning of human conversation on the web, we use machines for what they do best: to find and identify the obvious conversations, and look for patterns of meaning that go beyond what humans can generally perceive.
Nearly one third of Chinese citizens went online as of June 30*, and most of them are young. A few facts:
- Nearly 3/4 of China’s 420 million internet users are under 30.
- The 20-29 age group is the largest online age group in China.
- 79% of 10-19 year olds in China are online
- While the 30-49 age group accounts for 37% of the population, 27% of of them are online.
Data Source: China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a Chinese governmental agency.
For information on how Converseon can help your company research and engage through social media in China, contact email@example.com.
While studies have shown that positive online ratings correlate with higher sales, a study at the University of Maryland using data from BazaarVoice found that brands maximize their long-term benefits from online ratings when they attract a balance of positive and negative ratings from customers.
If you want to increase sales in the long run, you need to attract a balance of negative reviews, in addition to lots of positive reviews.
In The Value of Social Dynamics in Online Ratings Forums, Wendy Moe and Michael Trusov of the University of Maryland found the following:
- The rating of your product today has the biggest impact on sales today.
- However, the number and diversity of reviews that you have today affects how the rating will change over time, as follows.
- A 5-star rating today will most likely go down over time because people will post negative reviews in response to the existing positive reviews.
- Reviews containing only 4s or 5s attract negative reviews because new users often want to add a sense of balance.
- Products with an average rating of 3 stars based on a wide range of ratings tend to improve their ratings faster than those with only 3-star reviews. As a result, the more diversely rated products tend to improve sales more quickly.
Social CRM – the use of social media monitoring together with customer care outreach – has become big business. Gartner group projects it will be a $1 billion industry in 2010. And with good reason. Increasingly, consumers are taking to their social networks to express dissatisfaction with brand customer care experiences. Brands ranging from Comcast to Dell, Delta and others are being increasingly deluged with customer complaints, questions and concerns. No longer are complaints kept within the communication corridors of customer to brand channels, but are being broadcast and reposted/retweeted across the social media landscape. At times these can turn into search engine results, damaging significantly a brand reputation.
The response? Brands have increasingly been putting PR and Communications staff into positions to reach out and address concerns on the premise it’s better to defuse early. But all too often the PR and Comms staff are outnumbered by the volume and, perhaps more critically, they’re not in a situation to address the root cause of the problem. Instead they’re put in position of apologist.
The problem is three fold:
1) Scaling social media into the customer service infrastructure is difficult. Most of the time the social conversation data is not integrated withother customer profile data. In the vast majority of cases, the social listening data is segregated from critical customer data that would help resolve an issue. The promise of social data integrating into a single customer profile database is still a hazy mirage on the horizon. So brands are often focused on the perceived influence of a complainer – using tools such a Klout scores. The problem with this is clear: your best customers may not have high – if any – klout scores. In fact, most senior executives – for example, are probably spending more time doing business deals than tweeting their lunch plans.
Anyone running affiliate marketing or influencer outreach programs requires a mixture of automated and human analyses to design and operate their program. Automated algorithms are great when you need a quick decision in real-time, but when you are choosing 5, 10 or 50 influencers for long-term relationship development, you need to be sure that they are the true influencers in your category. That requires human analysis.
While Klout can now include LinkedIn connections and activities into the calculation of Klout scores, brands should be very careful about using Klout scores for affiliate marketing or influencer outreach, for the following reasons:
- The only way to identify influencers within a category is through a combination of automated and human analyses.
- Klout can not measure influence within a category. For example, Ariana Huffington has a high Klout score, but she is not relevant to most brands. For example, if you sell baby diapers or desktop virtualization products, Ariana is not an influencer. And Klout is not capable of telling you who influences the conversation around baby diapers or desktop virtualization products.
In recognition of the need for category-specific influence scoring, Klout recently launched a +K button, which lets Klout users tell Klout when someone else influences them, but the method has two weaknesses:
- +K is subject to significant self-selection bias. The inputs come only from Klout users who choose to contribute, and
- +K does not capture the extent to which one person passes along another person’s messages. Therefore, the scoring does not adequately allow a brand to choose influencers based upon the extent to which the influencer will drive messaging into the market.
- +K does not associate the influence with a category. For example, I might say that Seth Godin influences me, but does he influence my decisions about car purchases, laptop purchases or the foods that I consume? No.
Converseon recently launched a collaborative research project with comScore, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), Communispace, and Firefly Millward Brown to explore the roles of social media in the purchase process. The project brings together a range of research techniques to understand how and when people turn to social media as they make purchase decisions.
Converseon will provide insights based on social intelligence for the project, helping the ARF to establish an expanded understanding of online conversations around purchase decisions for items in the CPG and other categories. Converseon analysis will uncover where in the purchase process social media conversation is taking place, who is taking part in that discussion and where it’s happening.
Our research will include psychographic and demographic analysis, in addition to a range of other metrics based on Converseon’ unique technology + human methodology, giving the ARF the opportunity to cross-tab the analysis and extract the most meaningful information to support its research goals.
We all look forward to the results of the joint project.
Analysis by Will Bottinick, Research Manager and Chris Boudreaux, SVP of Business Integration.
Congressmen and women follow more than 450,000 people on Twitter – but which publications, politicians, pundits and Beltway personalities does Congress watch the most? This post is the first in a series that will analyze the Twitter habits of Congress. Today, we focus on the media sources that appear to influence Congress via Twitter.
The top media sources Republicans and Democrats in Congress follow on their Twitter accounts mostly align – but the parties differ widely for a few sources, including several mainstream news outlets.
Similarities Between Republicans and Democrats
- Both parties follow C-SPAN more than any other news source.
- 21% of Republicans and 28% of Democrats follow NPR accounts. That seems consistent with the 2011 finding by a team from Duke University this year which concluded that NPR is near the middle of the U.S. political spectrum, after examining the political ideology of 2010 primary candidates.
- May 14: Converseon’s CEO Rob Key will speak at Mashable Connect on Scaling Social Across the Enterprise
- May 16: Rob Key will speak on trends in social media at a panel discussion for top communication experts in the insurance industry, as part of the IPRC Annual Meeting, organized in New York
- May 16: Senior Strategist Mike Moran will speak at Philadelphia’s MENG Chapter meeting on why Digital Marketing is Direct Marketing
- June 9: Mike Kovscek, SVP of Enterprise Analytics, will speak at New York OMMA Social on a panel discussing how to link social media to ROI
This afternoon at the WOMMA School of WOM in Chicago, I had the privilege of sharing lessons from enabling the social workforce at IBM with my clients, Susan Emerick and Bill Chamberlain of IBM. You can view our slides here, including a few transcript notes at the bottom of the page.
If you’d like to know more, all of our contact information is listed in the slides, or feel free to contact me:
cboudreaux [at] converseon [dot] com