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McGill '09: Complete Web Monitoring: Monitoring Communites & Competitors
 

McGill '09: Complete Web Monitoring: Monitoring Communites & Competitors

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  • So how do we look beyond our own shores?
  • The emergence of the web as a platform for interaction at scale has given us new ways to interact with our audience.
  • Social networking is now mainstream, and even relatively recent phenomena like Twitter see widespread adoption by the media. Ubiquitous computing -- a result of mobility, on-demand applications, and broadly available wireless -- drive this even further.
  • And we live in a world of vocal markets. A few short years ago, your only recourse was an indignant letter; today, angry moms can change the course of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign in days.
  • The communities we see today are a natural evolution from the early days of the web.
  • Early interactions on BBSes were limited to nerds and hobbyists. Many of the things we see in communities -- from voting, to posts, to email, to games, to downloads, to search -- started in BBSes. But they lacked the widespread adoption.
  • The web made it easy for everyone to get access to things. Early on, directories organized everything. The web was primarily a source of information.
  • Social aggregators like Digg, Slashdot, and Reddit have given us other, more collaborative, ways to decide what’s interesting.
  • Back in 1996, the web shifted from a platform for getting information to a platform for interaction. Hotmail was one of the turning points of social networking -- a shift from one email per computer to one per person, independent of machine.
  • Instant messaging made it possible to chat with others quickly and easily. While IRC had done this for years, it was the integration of chat with portals like Yahoo, MSN, and AOL that made it accessible.
  • Social networks and blogs made it easier than ever to have a page on the web -- attracting a broader mass market than ever.
  • We also started repurposing chat. Rather than talking to our friends all the time, we re-used the status field to tell our friends what we were up to.
  • This led to Twitter and other interfaces -- basically chat with the chat stripped out -- whose social patterns produced extremely fluid social dynamics. Today, a popular Twitter user like Stephen Fry can generate Digg-like traffic to a site through a simple mention.
  • The most obvious reason to care about communities is because it’s where your customers and audiences expect you to be. In study after study, customers say they want companies they do business with to have a presence online and be interactive.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • First of all, communities are part of a new, long funnel that starts with community influences and ultimately refers people to you.
  • It’s also a new kind of PR -- one that moves beyond simple viral marketing.
  • The twentieth century was dominated by traditional broadcast advertising. The average American is exposed to thousands of ads every day, and actually notices hundreds of them. But broadcast marketing is at best a blunt instrument, and we’ve learned to ignore it.
  • Online advertising -- paid, affiliate, or SEO -- gave marketers better control. But you still had to pay for it; that is, message strength grew with the money you spent on the ads. Marketers retained control over the message, but less so over where it was shown and to whom.
  • Viral marketing made the marketing dollar go further by infecting customers with the message in the hopes that it would spread, much as this diagram of a pathogen’s spread shows a few initial carriers (black) infecting others.
  • Nothing was better at this than Hotmail, which gained millions of users in a short amount of time with a simple embedded message.
  • Hotmail’s adoption was predicted decades beforehand by a professor who studied how messages diffuse out through groups.
  • Hotmail&#x2019;s growth closely mirrored this. It had all the things needed to go viral: <br /> - A good story <br /> - Support from community leaders <br /> - A large end audience <br /> - A platform for distribution
  • But viral marketing can lose control of the message. Remember Afroninja? Did you know it was part of an ad campaign? We like to remix things; when you go viral, you offer yourself up for remashing.
  • Communities are a new kind of PR, but they&#x2019;re one in which you lose control of both the means and the audience in return for a genuine message and cheap distribution. Not all messages can survive this transparency, and all members of the organization are involved in the interaction.
  • Another good reason to embrace communities -- indeed, the earliest ROI for many companies -- is customer self-support. Customers like it, and it costs less. Some companies have gone to great lengths to replace their traditional support sites with community platforms.
  • Even if you don&#x2019;t want to build one yourself, sites like Getsatisfaction can do it for you.
  • Another good reason to monitor communities is because what happens on them may put you at risk. Whether that&#x2019;s someone slandering you, stealing or leaking your content, or even using you as a platform for malicious attacks -- such as those linked to from President Obama&#x2019;s campaign sites.
  • Communities can help you make better product decisions faster too. Here&#x2019;s an example of Solarwinds soliciting product roadmap feedback from its community.
  • Of course, there&#x2019;s also lead generation, whether you&#x2019;re trying to recruit or sell.
  • Think of communities as conversations. Any conversation has three fundamental elements: People talking; a subject of conversation; and a venue.
  • Think of communities as conversations. Any conversation has three fundamental elements: People talking; a subject of conversation; and a venue.
  • Think of communities as conversations. Any conversation has three fundamental elements: People talking; a subject of conversation; and a venue.
  • Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group published this pyramid of engagement, showing several kinds of online participant. Some lurk; some go so far as to moderate and manage community.
  • Online communities exhibit power laws. A power law, or pareto curve, or the 80/20 rule, simply says there will be a lot of a few things and a few of many things. It&#x2019;s the basis for Chris Anderson&#x2019;s The Long Tail. In this example, we look at the top 100 most common last names. A few, like Smith and Jones, dominate.
  • Communities are no different. Most users are disengaged; some contribute occasionally; a few are fanatics; and if you&#x2019;re unlucky, you&#x2019;ll deal with the Long Tail of Freaks from time to time -- those community members so driven that they find ways to contribute even when you don&#x2019;t want them to.
  • Of course, a suddent burst of interest can lead to dramatic spikes in contributions from some community members -- as the recent release of Spore with strong DRM showed. Comments about Spore on Amazon exceeded those of all Maxis games for the past 10 years.
  • The second element of a conversation is the topic. You&#x2019;ll probably have some ideas of topics that concern your business -- your company&#x2019;s name, key executives, your competitors, and your industry.
  • One way to expand the range of topics is to use Google Sets to find what else is related.
  • Of course, you can look at what keywords are driving traffic your way, then look into them on community platforms elsewhere.
  • Because keyword data is publicly available -- it&#x2019;s part of Adwords auctions -- sites like Spyfu will show you who&#x2019;s paying for keywords (so you can see who you&#x2019;re competing with for that attention.)
  • The reverse is true -- if you know a competitor&#x2019;s URL, you can see what keywords they&#x2019;re getting traffic from. All of these can be inspiration for further community research
  • You can prune down the list of keywords by geography, using something like Google Insight.
  • You might think that you can simply track back to a referring site -- in this case, Reddit.com -- to see what&#x2019;s driving traffic your way.
  • Desktop clients break things, though. We&#x2019;ve seen as much as 80% of site traffic come from Twitter clients, whereas only 20% of it is reported as referred by Twitter (we&#x2019;ll show you how we know this later.)
  • You could do a google search for your URL, and find out where it shows up.
  • But many of the URLs that lead to you are shortened, so they won&#x2019;t appear in search results.
  • Here&#x2019;s how to find mentions of something you&#x2019;ve written. First, get the website data
  • Now put that URL into a URL shortener. The chances are good that if someone else used the shortener already, you&#x2019;ll get the previously-generated short URL.
  • Search for the short URL, and see who mentioned it.
  • Lo and behold, we&#x2019;ve found a blogger who&#x2019;s discussing our content on other sites -- and who didn&#x2019;t show up in referrals because of a desktop client.
  • You might think the best thing to do is to go and join every community out there. Rest in peace, Usernamecheck; we hardly knew ye.
  • The reality is that every kind of interaction is unique. Some are private, one-to-one; others are open to everyone. Some are brief snippets; others, detailed prose.
  • We break communities down into eight distinct types, each with its own roles, purposes, and message dynamics.
  • While there are many social networks, there are relatively few of any size (and here&#x2019;s that power law showing up again.)
  • Some social networks are narrowly focused.
  • Twitter, and other microblogging or lifestreaming applications, have garnered a huge amount of interest in part because their open APIs and asymmetric follow model make them perfect for analysis and monitoring.
  • On Twitter, much is made of the follower ratio, which can be an indicator of reciprocity.
  • Twitter&#x2019;s extensible syntax is another reason for its growth. When it initially launched, only the direct message (d) was part of the system; now, conventions like @name and #tag have formed. Here&#x2019;s an example of Stephen Fry using the hashtag to circumvent following behavior.
  • Of all the communities, the one that scares operations types the most is the news aggregator -- monitoring online buzz can give you an early warning that your site is about to experience a lot of load.
  • increase chance that messages will be amplified by the community <br /> Don&#x2019;t know which social platforms will dominate <br /> Last-minute announcement goes on Twitter; detailed list goes in a blog posting; question looking for responses goes to a mailing list <br /> Monitor broad range of sites in case conversations about you&#x2014;or your competitors&#x2014;emerge <br /> The accounting department may not use the same social networks as the executive team, who may work with different tools from the folks in support. Different audiences gravitate towards different platforms.
  • in the end, we found that there are really 8 major types of communities today with four levels of engagements to each.
  • you&#x2019;re familiar with all of these technologies, so we won&#x2019;t spend alot of time on each. In no particular orders, there are:
  • mailing lists, where users share mail with each other in a group setting
  • forums where users can talk with each other - but not in real time
  • irc communities, where users connect with each other in real time
  • social networks, where users can connect with each other and build their social graph
  • blogs where you state an opinion and can interact with your users through comment systems
  • wikis, where users share searchable information with each other
  • micromessaging platforms like twitter
  • and news aggregation sites where communities vote on popular content.
  • And there are four levels of engagement you can have with them. More engagement means more visibility, at the expense of anonymity.
  • And there are four levels of engagement you can have with them. More engagement means more visibility, at the expense of anonymity.
  • And there are four levels of engagement you can have with them. More engagement means more visibility, at the expense of anonymity.
  • And there are four levels of engagement you can have with them. More engagement means more visibility, at the expense of anonymity.
  • first, you can search each community
  • by setting up google alerts
  • or by setting up page level alerts to tell you if a particular site has changed. This is especially useful if you want to be told of an update on a particular site that might not be indexed by google often and doesn&#x2019;t have an RSS feed for the area you want to follow.
  • you can also roll out your own search engine to find and be alerted on content on a particular group or type of site.
  • you can use forum crawlers like bigboards to forum mentions
  • and do the same on IRC using search engines like searchirc.
  • in walled gardens, you can get rudimentary aggregate keyword information through programs like Lexicon for Facebook.
  • twitter has a powerful search functionality
  • and you can compare your share of voice on different networks using tools like site volume.
  • you can also join communities too. In some cases, this gives you a bit more information and flexibility.
  • some mailing lists require you to join so that you can search them
  • and many forums won&#x2019;t allow you to read the content until you actually become a member as well.
  • walled gardens like facebook only gives you searchable information once you&#x2019;ve joined, and even then - will only give you information on your own social graph - not beyond it.
  • by joining certain blog comment communities, you can get more insight into the types of comments and blogs certain users visit.
  • if you moderate platforms, you gain even more visibility, understanding and metrics.
  • for example, moderating a mailing list might mean that you have the power to decide if a particular message can get published to the list or not.
  • and moderating a facebook group may mean that you can reach out to members, delete and invite them as well.
  • finally, running a platform gives you the ultimate visibility at the expense of the time and effort it takes to run it.
  • you can run a social media platform
  • and take advantage of the built in stats that the platform offers you. This is the case for ones like Lithium, Jive, Teligent and so on.
  • you can run IRC servers which can give you a much broader set of metrics like channel names, user names and so on.
  • you can run your own blogs, which means that you&#x2019;re free to run any analytics service you want on it.
  • running a wiki means that you can track all sorts of information such as incipient links, number of posts per day and so on.
  • if you run your own micro-blogging platform, you&#x2019;re free to integrate it in whatever application you own, and run any analytics in the back end. This can give you powerful information such as social graphing information.
  • community listening platforms exist to help automate this whole process - but like all tools, they&#x2019;re not perfect and many are starting to emerge (so they&#x2019;ll be going through some growing pains).
  • first, they automate the process of finding conversations for you.
  • instead of spending time setting up the prospective searches to find content, the community listening platforms will do it for you
  • but much more importantly, community listening platforms aggregate content in meaningful ways. it&#x2019;s extremely time consuming to go through multiple websites to find relevant content. having it organized in a centralized dashboard helps you save lots of time and money.
  • the information is presented to you in a concise fashion, allowing you to drill down only to articles that may be of importance to you.
  • even better, listening platforms graph all of this information over time, allowing you to trend the data to see if your community efforts are having any effect on your audiences.
  • they also allow you to drill down to individual users to help you understand who they are and what they do.
  • they&#x2019;ll also measure the sentiment of articles -
  • - helping you to determine if people are reacting positively, neutrally or negatively to a particular search term.
  • finally, community listening platforms manage your responses so that you don&#x2019;t trip over each others feet in a team setting.
  • comment
  • So how do we look beyond our own shores?
  • the first thing that you&#x2019;ll want to determine is who your competitors are, and you can largely use the tools and search techniques that we talked about earlier to do this.
  • once you&#x2019;ve found some competitors, one of the things you can do is determine their relative popularity -
  • using services like compete.com. While it doesn&#x2019;t give you much detail, it&#x2019;s a starting point.
  • you can also judge their relative reputation -
  • by figuring figuring out how many links or mentions they have to a particular area within their site and comparing that to yours. In this case, we can see that watchingwebsites.com has 491 links whereas Dave Fleet&#x2019;s blog has 8,400.
  • you can also use referral analytics tools to figure out what keywords and referrers send traffic to competing sites, in order to build a strategy to raise your prominence with those keywords.
  • you can use sites like technorati to judge how well these efforts are doing
  • and google trends will help you figure out how well you&#x2019;re doing geographically.

McGill '09: Complete Web Monitoring: Monitoring Communites & Competitors McGill '09: Complete Web Monitoring: Monitoring Communites & Competitors Presentation Transcript

  • What are they saying? Online communities
  • New ways to interact.
  • Consumer technology.
  • !
  • A quick history of communities
  • !
  • !
  • Why care about communities?
  • Community influences
  • Community influences Social referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Usage
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Usage Engagement
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Usage Engagement Revenue
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Usage Engagement Revenue Referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Bounce Usage Engagement Revenue Referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Bounce Usage Boredom Engagement Revenue Referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Bounce Usage Boredom Engagement Non-buyers Revenue Referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Bounce Usage Boredom Engagement Non-buyers Revenue Abandonment Referral
  • Community influences Social referral Arrival Bounce Usage Boredom Engagement Non-buyers Revenue Abandonment Referral Viral immunity
  • ------------------------------------------------------ Get your free private email at http://www.hotmail.com ------------------------------------------------------
  • The Bass diffusion curve
  • Spread of message directly relates to money spent on spreading it. Converted actions Time Buyers = (message effectiveness) * (number who hear it)
  • Later, spread depends on number who amplify the message (the original Retweet!) Converted actions Time Buyers = (message effectiveness) * (number who hear it) + (message infectiousness) * (buyers)
  • ouch
  • turns out . . .
  • !
  • !
  • Risk avoidance Libelous or slanderous content Intellectual property theft Your own liability
  • !
  • Who’s talking?
  • Who’s talking? What are they saying?
  • Where are they saying it? Who’s talking? What are they saying?
  • Who’s talking?
  • What are they talking about?
  • !
  • !
  • !
  • Where are they talking?
  • !
  • !
  • !
  • !
  • Community Detailed Email Article Blog Private post wiki Forum Google comment group Forum Linkedin post IRC profile change Blog comment Facebook Complexity status update IM Twitter Simple One to one One to many
  • Different community models User groups & Blogs newsgroups Wikis Forums Micromessaging Realtime communication Social news aggregators Social networks
  • !
  • !
  • Micromessaging
  • !
  • !
  • Why be everywhere? Reach Early days DIfferent platforms, different messages Awareness Multiple audiences
  • What are they saying? Community Types
  • the 8 types of communities
  • Search Anonymous, but little insight into what’s going on behind closed doors
  • Search Join Anonymous, but Permission- little insight into based access to what’s going on activity (friends, behind closed forums) doors
  • Search Join Moderate Anonymous, but Permission- Some little insight into based access to administrative what’s going on activity (friends, control, but you behind closed forums) have to earn it doors
  • Search Join Moderate Run Anonymous, but Permission- Some Complete control little insight into based access to administrative and visibility but what’s going on activity (friends, control, but you no guarantee behind closed forums) have to earn it anyone will show doors up
  • #1 - search
  • #2 - join
  • #3 - moderate
  • #4 - run
  • community listening platforms
  • find conversations
  • aggregate content
  • measure sentiment
  • manage your responses
  • gross!
  • What are they up to? Tracking Competitors
  • do i have competitors
  • are they popular
  • do they have a better reputation