I heard a comment/complaint the other day that spoke worlds about the social Web -- and the challenges therein.
In a post-Thanksgiving get-together, the "girls" in our family gathered at one of my sister's houses to keep her distracted under the guise of helping her decorate for Christmas. Her husband was out of town attending his brother's wedding, and, overdue with their first baby, she was anxious she'd go into labor at any moment (as was he, from the number of phone calls she received while we were over there). She's the most artsy-crafty among us, and was preparing to dry out orange slices to use on her tree.
As she sliced away, she held up a sample and asked if we thought it was too thick. Not really knowing exactly what she had in mind with her dried orange slices, most of us just shrugged our shoulders and said, "Guess so." But one sister asked, "Don't you have a picture we can look at on Pinterest?"
To this she responded, looking rather embarrassed since she'd become known as the Pinterest Queen during her wedding planning, "Uh no. I don't really use Pinterest too much anymore since it's become so, so, so..."
"Commercialized?" I suggested.
"Exactly!" she scowled.
Pinterest, like Facebook and Twitter before it, and certainly any trendy social media site to come after, has become a magnet for corporate marketers. And as disheartening as that might be for those of us who simply want a quite little corner in the virtual world to call our own, it's even tougher on the marketing mavens charged with understanding (read "capitalizing") on social media.
This, of course, falls to social media analytics -- as confusing a field as ever there was, what with the proliferation of platforms and players clamoring for attention. And this isn't just about what's happening online. While marketers grapple with what's happening on the social Web, they're apt to forget that social media drives real-world behavior, too, as Judah Phillips, the chapter's author and a digital insights and research executive, pointed out in the recently published book, Win With Advanced Business Analytics: Creating Business Value from Your Data.
My sister may not like that Pinterest and other social sites have morphed into marketing hangouts, but she's still letting what she sees there influence her behavior -- whether she wants to fess up to that or not.
Social media analytics must take into account the consumer who sees an ad on a social media channel, and then takes action on it, even though he doesn't click on the ad directly. Instead, he begins reading product reviews by bloggers, looks at consumer comments, checks out the company's Twitter feed -- and, several weeks later, heads to the store around the corner and buys the thing.
Would you be surprised, even shocked, to know that this consumer's actions can be tracked from start to finish? You shouldn't be, Phillips said. Consider this:
Given the social graph being developed by companies such as Facebook and Google, it is not only possible to collect, track, measure, and analyze almost every single behavior in the sequence, but it is also possible to join that advertising data (and the related behavior) back to the social graph that contains every bit of information ever collected and made available (by you and opt-in/opt-out) on any social media site. Consider also that the social graph can be joined to other third-party repositories, such as consumer credit card, financial data, and other personal data.
Phillips needn't say it, but he does: "the implications for analytics are enormous."
His advice: Don't head into 2013 without knowing how your company can get the biggest benefits from social media data and analysis across its operations, from finance to sales and beyond. Better yet, he'd like to help get you started. Phillips will join AllAnalytics.com on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 2:00 p.m. ET, for a Webinar called "2013 Social Media Analytics Best-Practices," and will be sharing his global practitioner's perspective on how to optimize use of social media data and analysis.
You'll get tips on:
- Deciphering social media jargon
- Developing social media analytics for brand vs. direct response
- Putting various social media techniques to work
- Influencing customer relationships with social data
Register today and get ready for the New, Ever-More-Social, Year.