Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms

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Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms

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Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms

  1. 1. Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA Tel: +1 617.613.6000 | Fax: +1 617.613.5000 | www.forrester.com Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms by Nate Elliott, March 6, 2014 For: Marketing Leadership Professionals Key Takeaways Established Social Relationship Platforms Aren’t Doing Their Job Very Well Barely one-half of marketers are satisfied with their social relationship marketing programs. Most still face a long list of challenges, from measurement to content creation to staffing. But the social relationship platforms those marketers have hired to solve these problems are failing them: Most marketers wouldn’t recommend their SRP to a peer. “Data In” Practices Will Make Social Relationship Marketing More Successful Fortunately for marketers, a new breed of emerging SRPs is harnessing data to solve their problems. These vendors reduce social marketers’ workloads and improve their output by telling them what topics will work best, helping them source content, and publishing at the best possible moment. The best of these tools can even automate mundane tasks. “Data Out” Practices Will Improve Social Measurement (And More) Measurement is both marketers’ greatest social challenge and SRPs’ greatest opportunity. SRPs’ biggest contribution to measurement will come from exporting marketers’ data to established measurement tools like mix modeling and attribution vendors. Vendors can also help marketers use social data to improve their marketing in other channels.
  2. 2. © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester® , Technographics® , Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please email clientsupport@forrester.com. For additional information, go to www.forrester.com. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Why Read This Report More marketers use branded Facebook pages and Twitter accounts than use any other social tactic, but barely one-half say they’re satisfied.Many don’t know what content to post, or when; others don’t have the human resources they need to succeed; and most say they can’t measure effectively. And the social relationship platforms (SRPs) they hire to solve these problems just aren’t offering much help. In fact, most marketers wouldn’t recommend their SRP to a peer. This report details how smart vendors are using “data in, data out” practices to find innovative solutions to marketers’ problems — and reveals which emerging SRPs are leading the way. Table Of Contents Social Relationship Platforms Aren’t Solving Marketers’ Problems Vendors That Use “Data In, Data Out” Practices Will Win The Market “Data In” Goes Beyond Insights To Offer Automation “Data Out” Will Prove The Value Of Social And Improve The Rest Of Your Marketing WHAT IT MEANS “Data In, Data Out” Models Will Disrupt The Entire Social Space Supplemental Material Notes & Resources Forrester interviewed 14 vendor and user companies, including Adobe, Beckon, Brand Networks, Expion, HootSuite, Percolate Industries, salesforce.com, Shoutlet, SimpleFeed, SocialFlow, Spredfast, Sprinklr, Twitter, and Umbel. Related Research Documents Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR August 7, 2013 The Four Social Marketing Tools You Need August 7, 2013 The Forrester Wave™: Social Relationship Platforms, Q2 2013 April 16, 2013 Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms How And Why Emerging SRPs Are Overtaking Established Vendors by Nate Elliott with Melissa Parrish and Sarah Takvorian 2 6 4 7 March 6, 2014
  3. 3. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 2 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 Social Relationship Platforms Aren’t Solving Marketers’ Problems More marketers use branded Facebook pages and Twitter accounts than use any other social channel or tactic.1 But barely one-half of marketers say they’re satisfied their Facebook and Twitter programs deliver business value.2 Marketers struggle with social relationship marketing because they: ■ Can’t measure effectively. Measurement remains social marketers’ biggest challenge (see Figure 1). More than one-half of the marketers we surveyed said they struggle to gauge the value of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. One key reason: Most social metrics track simple user interactions (e.g., likes or shares) rather than business value (e.g., brand impact or sales). ■ Don’t know what content to post, or when. Finding and selecting good social content is hard. In fact, social relationship marketers list both deciding what to publish and sourcing content among their top three challenges. And 20% say that effectively scheduling posts is one of their toughest tasks. ■ Don’t have the human resources they need to succeed. Managing branded profiles can be resource intensive and requires a well-drilled team. But more than one-quarter of social marketers say they don’t have the budget to hire enough social staff. Another 14% say that even when they find the money, their staff isn’t well trained for the job. ■ Aren’t getting the help they need from vendors. Marketers’ commitment to social plus their difficulties and disappointments equals an opportunity for vendors. But while dozens of SRPs chase that opportunity, few provide strong answers to marketers’ most important questions. Our most recent SRP Forrester Wave™ evaluation found no clear market leaders.3 And most marketers tell us they wouldn’t recommend their SRP to a colleague (see Figure 2).
  4. 4. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 3 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 Figure 1 Social Relationship Marketers Struggle With Measurement, Content, And Staffing Source: Forrester Research, Inc.113001 “Thinking only about how you post content to or engage with fans on your branded profiles, which of the following are your biggest challenges?” 52% 39% 35% 27% 20% 18% 15% 14% 11% 8% 5% 9% Measuring the performance of these profiles Finding or creating content to publish Deciding what type of content to publish Finding budget for staff to manage these profiles Scheduling posts and creating a content calendar Finding budget for external support Responding to user posts and comments Finding or training qualified staff to manage these profiles Deciding which social networks to use Selecting an effective agency to manage these profiles Selecting an effective tech vendor to manage these profiles Other Source: Q1 2014 Social Marketing Online Survey Base: 66 marketers (multiple responses accepted)
  5. 5. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 4 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 Figure 2 Most Social Relationship Marketers Aren’t Satisfied With Their Technology Partners Source: Forrester Research, Inc.113001 “Thinking only about the primary vendor or tool you use to manage your branded social profiles, how likely is it that you would recommend it to a friend or colleague?” Detractors 43% Source: Q1 2014 Social Marketing Online Survey Base: 56 marketers Passives 30% Promoters 27%Net Promoter Score: -16 Vendors That Use “Data In, Data Out” Practices Will Win The Market How can SRPs better solve marketers’ toughest challenges? More-effective use of data will help vendors find innovative solutions to marketers’ problems — and help vendors stand out from the pack. ■ SRPs already use data to help marketers monitor and respond. Most leading SRPs offer at least basic monitoring functionality. And once they’ve tracked customer questions and comments, these tools use sentiment and influence data to help marketers analyze which require attention. ■ SRPs that best pull data into their platforms will innovate social publishing. In the past 18 months, social sites have let marketers import third-party ad targeting data, and the result has been greatly improved ad performance. Vendors that replicate such smart data practices to power better organic posts will give marketers a big leg up. ■ SRPs that best push data out of their platforms will innovate measurement (and more). Measurement isn’t just marketers’ greatest social challenge; it’s SRPs’ greatest opportunity. The vendors that best help clients port social data into attribution and marketing mix tools will emerge as measurement leaders. Vendors can also help marketers use social data to improve their marketing in other channels.
  6. 6. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 5 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 A recent review of SRPs’ latest offerings reveals that it’s upstart vendors, not established names, that are most ready to leverage data effectively and help marketers use “data in, data out” practices. “Data In” Goes Beyond Insights To Offer Automation Leveraging external data sources to power better social marketing isn’t science fiction; it’s just out of the reach of many established SRPs. Today, a new breed of emerging SRPs is already harnessing data to ease (and even automate) everyday tasks — both reducing social marketers’ workloads and improving their output. These innovative platforms: ■ Tell marketers which topics will work best. Brand Networks and PlayAnalytics tap historical sales and weather databases to tell retailers which products will generate the most social interest, based on local forecasts. And Percolate Industries’ “content marketing platform” doesn’t simply listen to what brands’ social audiences are talking about; it inserts a ranking of key themes into its publishing tool so marketers can easily post on the topics most likely to resonate with their fans. ■ Source effective social content. Once marketers have selected a topic, Percolate’s tool also scans their digital asset databases for relevant preapproved images and videos — and lets marketers insert logos and slogans into the assets so they’re ready to post. In contrast, SimpleFeed asks marketers to identify a goal (e.g., clicks or comments), then searches their company’s prior social activity for posts that have delivered those results in the past. ■ Publish at the best possible moment. SocialFlow’s Cadence product ensures that marketers publish to Facebook or Twitter when their posts have the best chance of being seen. Marketers set boundaries for their posts (e.g., only 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays) and put content into a queue. The tool then tracks the social actions of each brand’s followers to estimate what percentage of them are active at any given moment — and when it senses a large number are online, it automatically publishes a post from the queue. ■ Automate mundane tasks. Many established SRPs already use data to offer marketing insights. For instance, Adobe and Shoutlet tell marketers at what time of day their tweets historically perform best, while Spredfast tells marketers which of their Facebook updates might work best as promoted posts. But at its best, this new breed of SRPs goes one step further to automate actions based on these insights. Witness SocialFlow’s ability to automatically post content at the right moment. Likewise, SimpleFeed helps one carmaker’s dealers automate content selection — dynamically publishing posts that have worked for other dealers on their Facebook pages. “Data Out” Will Prove The Value Of Social And Improve The Rest Of Your Marketing While several new-breed SRPs already leverage “data in” practices, today, neither emerging nor established vendors are effectively pushing data from their platforms to other tools. But smart SRPs will aggressively pursue “data out” methods to:
  7. 7. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 6 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 ■ Deliver marketers’ social data to measurement tools that work. Most SRPs’ measurement dashboards simply revisualize engagement data pulled directly from social networks. But marketers need business metrics, not just fancy charts. While some vendors offer genuinely useful measurement (e.g., Brand Networks and Datalogix map retailers’ social product promotions to those products’ in-store sales) most cannot. SRPs’ greatest contribution to measurement will come from effectively exporting marketers’ data to established measurement tools like mix modeling vendors and cross-channel attribution providers. ■ Help marketers build the database of affinity. We define the database of affinity as a catalog of people’s tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors. It could be the Holy Grail for more-accurate brand advertising, powering effective targeting in everything from banner ads to TV spots. But Facebook, Google, and the other sites that collect masses of affinity data are moving slowly in their efforts to sell that data to marketers.4 Any SRP that can help marketers build and leverage their own database of affinity — likely by exporting it to data experts like Acxiom and Epsilon for analysis and list creation — will land the first blow in what will become a $100 billion battle for targeted brand spending. w h at i t m e a n s “Data In, Data Out” Models Will Disrupt The Entire Social Space As vendors adopt smarter data practices, the impact will reach far beyond SRPs to the rest of the social marketing industry. ■ Established SRPs must innovate or perish. The first wave of SRPs just isn’t getting the job done. Six years after the category appeared, there’s still no clear leader. Most new feature launches simply parrot other vendors’ offerings; genuine innovation is almost nonexistent; and client satisfaction is low. The established SRPs now face a choice: Either develop innovative data-driven functionality such as that detailed in this report or acquire the emerging vendors that have. If they fail to act, we’ll be talking about an entirely new set of “established” firms 18 months from now. ■ Social agencies are going to shrink, one way or another. These upstart SRPs aren’t only going to disrupt established SRPs — agencies are in the firing line as well. In some agencies, entire rooms of strategists hold daily brainstorms to plan a single brand’s social content. Managed well, that model can deliver great work.5 But it doesn’t scale for agencies and is hugely expensive for brands.The result? Agencies also face a choice: Either use data to drive automation within their business or lose clients to the technology vendors that do. In the next few years, social agencies will either shrink on their own as they automate or shrink by force as they lose business.
  8. 8. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 7 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 ■ Traditional data providers will acquire independent SRPs. If Acxiom, Epsilon, and other data providers want to build the database of affinity (and they tell us they do), they’ll need piles of social data. And because the social sites themselves won’t provide that data, brands and their SRPs will need to. That’s why we believe that the second great wave of SRP acquisition will be driven by data providers rather than software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors. Supplemental Material Methodology Forrester’s Q1 2014 Social Marketing Online Survey was fielded to 66 Forrester contacts with knowledge of social marketing. For quality assurance, we screened respondents to ensure they met minimum standards in terms of content knowledge, job responsibilities, and budget insight. Forrester fielded the survey during January 2014. Respondent incentives included two complimentary Forrester reports. Exact sample sizes are provided in this report on a question- by-question basis. This survey used a self-selected group of respondents (Forrester contacts knowledgeable of social marketing) and is therefore not random. This data is not guaranteed to be representative of the population, and, unless otherwise noted, statistical data is intended to be used for descriptive and not inferential purposes. While nonrandom, the survey is still a valuable tool for understanding where users are today and where the industry is headed. Companies Interviewed For This Report Adobe Beckon Brand Networks Expion HootSuite Percolate Industries Salesforce.com Shoutlet SimpleFeed SocialFlow Spredfast Sprinklr Twitter Umbel
  9. 9. For Marketing Leadership Professionals Data Defines The Future Of Social Relationship Platforms 8 © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 6, 2014 Endnotes 1 One recent Forrester survey found that 79% of marketers use Facebook and 60% use Twitter. Source: Q1 2014 Social Marketing Online Survey. 2 Just 55% of marketers are satisfied with the business value of posting updates to their Facebook pages, and the same number are satisfied with their Twitter programs. By comparison, 68% are satisfied with the business value of email marketing, and 66% are satisfied with search marketing. Source: Q1 2014 Social Marketing Online Survey. 3 In fact, most of the largest vendors offered lookalike platforms and identikit feature sets. See the April 16, 2013, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Relationship Platforms, Q2 2013” report. 4 Google’s recent launch of Affinity Segments targeting is a promising start toward offering marketers the database of affinity, but the company has more work left to do. And Facebook only started its artificial intelligence research team to analyze its affinity data in September 2013 — and at last count, this team had fewer than 10 members. Source: Nate Elliott, “Database Of Affinity: The Race Is On,” Nate Elliott’s Blog, September 25, 2013 (http://blogs.forrester.com/nate_elliott/13-09-25-database_of_affinity_the_race_is_on). 5 We know this model can work because we’ve seen it produce occasionally outstanding results. In fact, one of our favorite 2013 Forrester Groundswell Award winners — the Dr Pepper Facebook page managed by agency Code and Theory — uses exactly this model. But there are only so many smart social strategists in the world, and most marketers can’t afford to pay for so much of their time. Source: Code and Theory, “Dr Pepper Social Media Program,” Empowered Blog (http://groundswelldiscussion.com/groundswell/awards/ detail.php?id=1028).
  10. 10. Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow. 113001 « Forrester Focuses On Marketing Leadership Professionals You’re responsible for implementing the brand vision set by your CMO with your peers on the marketing leadership team. You coordinate online and offline marketing channels, using new digital media and emerging technologies to engage customers and to create great product experiences. Marisol Lopez, client persona representing Marketing Leadership Professionals About Forrester Global marketing and strategy leaders turn to Forrester to help them make the tough decisions necessary to capitalize on shifts in marketing, technology, and consumer behavior. We ensure your success by providing: n Data-driven insight to understand the impact of changing consumer behavior. n Forward-looking research and analysis to guide your decisions. n Objective advice on tools and technologies to connect you with customers. n Best practices for marketing and cross-channel strategy. for more information To find out how Forrester Research can help you be successful every day, please contact the office nearest you, or visit us at www.forrester.com. For a complete list of worldwide locations, visit www.forrester.com/about. Client support For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at +1 866.367.7378, +1 617.613.5730, or clientsupport@forrester.com. We offer quantity discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions.

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