The Internet Marketing Conference in Vancouver BC is just one week away. The conference promises to be full of valuable content and great networking events. TMMPDX has negotiated a discount, be sure to register using discount code: ‘TMMIMC11’ for $100 off 2 day pass or $50 off one day pass. The two day event runs Monday October 3rd and Tuesday October 4th with an agenda packed with leading industry speakers and multiple tracks covering content strategy, community strategy, campaigns and insights.
The TMMPDX team will be making the trip up to Vancouver and are looking forward to this year’s keynote presentation by web analytics guru, Jim Sterne. Chairman of the Web Analytics Association and author of ‘Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment‘, Jim was kind enough to answer a few of our questions regarding next week’s keynote and beyond.
Give us a sneak peek into your upcoming keynote at IMC Vancouver, ‘The Human Side of Marketing Analytics’. How DO we gain insights from all the customer data we’re collecting?
Step one – what are we measuring anyway? Humans! So we need to identify what we want those humans to do and how we put a number on it. Step two – the resulting numbers are only interesting if we take action. Action requires that we go beyond reporting and delve into analysis. That it happened it interesting. Why it happened is useful. But we’re not done yet. We have to get the insights gleaned from the data to the people who can take action. That takes a skill set analytics courses seldom discuss: communication.
What metrics would you use to determine the health of an online community?
A community can be considered healthy in two ways. First, does is respond well in a crisis? Does it act coherently and for the benefit of all. Difficult to test and impossible to monitor until something dreadful happens.
The second and most useful metric is a combination of measurements:
messages per day/week
breadth of conversation topics
velocity of conversation
stability of conversation
If a community is made up of 10,000 people, but only ten of them are active, or only three of them really respond with something valuable, or only five ask penetrating questions, then the community is out of kilter.
A brand’s community manager might also be concerned with the conversation cycle. A vibrant community is always discussing old chestnuts and new topics. But if the community is so old that the founders are no longer around and the topics are old and recycled, then there may be a problem.
You outline in your book, how difficult it is to determine sentiment. Are there any new tools that you feel are doing an adequate job? Do you feel tracking sentiment is valuable?
Yes and yes. Aside from the inevitable two-graduate-students-in-a-dorm-room, there are major corporations and solid technology companies who have been working on ‘unstructured data’ for a long time. The advent of the massive influx of data from social media and the enormous opportunity it represents, these players are turning up the heat to fulfill a market need.
Tracking sentiment is not simple and is only enjoying a confidence rate of 70% on a good day. While you can’t trust an accountant who is gets it wrong 30% of the time, you can make business decisions with fuzzy data. If your social dashboard says there is a huge uptick in negative comments about your brand, it doesn’t matter if the increase is BAD, WORSE or somewhere in between. You just got notified that there’s a problem – it’s time to take action.
Over the last year there have been many new social media management and tracking platforms to hit the market. At first glance, they appear to be a good option for a small to mid-size business owner who can’t afford an Omniture or Radian6. What are your thoughts on these types of platforms and are there any that are stand-outs? (argylesocial, AgoraPulse, Sproutsocial)
Forrester and Gartner and Altimeter
What do you feel will be the biggest change in web analytics over the next few years?
Senior-level expectations will increase. Managers, Directors and VP’s will be expected to point to the data that informed their decisions. They will depend more and more on their subordinates to deliver trustworthy, understandable and actionable insights base solidly on proofs. The subordinates with the best handle on the numbers will rise faster in the organization.
We’ve long had the technology to be data driven and we’ve proven the concept. The biggest change will be cultural. Those companies that embrace analytics, successfully tie their customer-oriented data together and use it to make a whole host of decisions will prevail. The suffering of the rest will be incalculable.