In our ALERT® digital strategy process we emphasize the importance of measuring your online marketing efforts. Measurement is important because:
- A marketing initiative needs to yield positive returns, otherwise it should be discontinued.
- Tracking and measuring helps you make better business and marketing decisions. For example, see the post about Using Google Analytics to Help Make Business Decisions.
- You need to be accountable to your clients, managers, investors, etc. You need solid metrics to report to stakeholders.
Relevant marketing metrics (especially online marketing metrics) have evolved in the past few years.
- In the early days, a basic ad impression or the number of eyeballs that saw your ad, was the ultimate marketing metric. This measurement was especially important on the broadcast medium (ie. television and radio) because it indicated how much exposure the ad received and subsequently the value of the ad space.
- Next came the ad click or a basic response (eg. newsletter sign up) from the audience. This was a better measurement because it tracked a reaction from the audience, meaning the audience was actually moved-to-action by an ad or message.
- Next came social media and the pursuit to “engage” with the audience. This greatly fragmented the number and types of metrics that could be tracked and reported. Each social media channel and digital property had its own terminology and way of measuring user interactions.
- Finally and most recently, has come the quest to measure user sentiment. Based on the tools I’ve seen and tried, that claim to measure sentiment for you… Let’s just say, we’re not there yet. The English language is complex. How would a computer account for idioms, slang, context and cultural expressions? For example, would you interpret the following statement as positive or negative, “That’s sick!”
As marketing professionals in the ever changing digital marketing space, we are faced with the challenge of making sense of all these metrics and conveying to our clients what really matters. Life would be a lot easier if there was one universal metric that can be used to measure all marketing initiatives.
However, in order to have a universal metric, there needs to be a common factor in every type of marketing initiative imaginable. As it stands, a user could click on a banner ad, or a user could click play on a video, or a user could compose and post a comment on a blog or a user could explore an interactive website — the list of actions and measurables are diverse, and go on and on…
The only common factor is — the user!
No matter what the marketing initiative, online or off, the user is at the heart of it all. Therefore, the universal metric must be measuring the human being.
If we wanted to measure a user’s level of engagement with a marketing message, we’d likely need to measure their level of brain activity. The more engaging the task, the more neuro impulses triggered in the brain. For example, a simple click of an ad wouldn’t require much thinking power, but writing a comment or navigating through an interactive website would. If human emotion could be monitored, we might even be able to accurately track sentiment. All marketing initiatives could then be measured against the level of positive brain activity from its audience.
So… Is there any hope of truly and accurately tracking this elusive and complicated universal marketing metric? With the progression of wearable technology (eg. Google Glasses) and brain scanning technology (eg. EEG), measuring brain activity may actually become a reality. We’ll just have to see where science, technology and society takes us.
Photo Credit: MikeBlogs
We actively monitor the trends in the TV industry and take pleasure in predicting the road ahead. These past couple of years have seen an explosion in social TV apps, like GetGlue, SocialGuide, Miso, and the list goes on. Each of these apps continues to evolve and change, each app trying to lead the way to a new kind of television watching experience. There have been some interesting developments along the way but I have personally never seen a closer glimpse into the future of television than I did today. And it wasn’t in the form of an app.
This week the Huffington Post went live with HuffPost Live. The Huffington Post, known as an online news outlet, now offers live TV-like coverage of news, entertainment, sports, tech and science. But how it does this, in my mind, is the closest anyone’s come to the future of TV and TV watching. Here’s why.
1. Like traditional television news broadcasts, HuffPost Live still decides which stories it will serve up and in which order. This will be familiar to a passive audience and satisfy that desire for conventional TV watching. However, a more engaged audience is also served by the Featured Videos bar at the bottom of the screen offering past segments like so:
This gives control to the viewer. There is no need to sit through a segment of no interest like one has to with traditional TV watching. One can browse the archive and play only the pieces that pique curiosity.
2. There is live integration of comments from the audience in every segment. A live Twitter stream is featured prominently on the right-hand side of the screen inviting viewers to “Join This Segment”. Anyone can participate in the conversation at any time.
3. Even though HuffPost Live offers “live” coverage with real-time audience engagement, it also caters to time-shifted viewing by offering not just archived content, but also the archived conversation generated when the piece first aired. So it’s not just the content that can be seen again, it’s also the experience.
4. Every news item comes with a list of resources. Now viewers who wish to learn more than can possibly be covered in a 3-4 minute conversation, can read up. Furthermore, the resources are categorized in a helpful way. For example: “Key Article”, “Background”, “Big Picture” and so on. Of course some of the articles are from Huffington Post, but not all. Viewers can also review at any time, who the guests are. How many times have you been listening to someone speak and wished you could rewind the part where they showed the speaker’s name and title?
5. Many guests participate via Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts are entirely accessible by anyone in the world with an internet connection and a Google account. No fancy, expensive satellite trucks required… which is a great segue to the next point.
6. HuffPost Live is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. No need for a TV. No need for cable service or TV antennas.
7. HuffPost Live just might make live TV broadcasts more meaningful by letting viewers look ahead to what’s coming up – and prepare. Not only can viewers browse upcoming stories, they can also read articles related to the story in advance of its live broadcast. This could create a more enhanced understanding of the broadcast, not to mention a more enhanced television experience overall.
8. It probably won’t last but for now, HuffPost Live is commercial-free. TV of the future doesn’t have to include advertising.
9. Video playback sources on HuffPost Live include YouTube and other online video sites. Once again, no state-of-the-art playback machines required, not to mention mountains of tape.
10. Streaming live on the internet has never been so seamless. I was tuned in for almost 3 hours (in the background at times) and not once experienced significant drop-outs or buffering issues.
I’m very excited to see such a successful attempt at making the TV experience more social, more accessible and more meaningful for viewers. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
There are so many social tools and networks that it’s hard to know which ones to invest your time in. Even though the internet gives you the power to research to your heart’s content, chances are by the time you’re halfway through researching – everything will have changed. So and so bought-up so and so, and such and such no longer does that – now it does this.
Leave it to us. This is what we do. Research and then update this type of content in our ALERT® and ALERT-TV+ systems, and then research again. ALERT® and ALERT-TV+ are all about cutting through the clutter.
Below is an excerpt from ALERT-TV+. It’s entitled “Social TV Tools to Watch”. These are not to be confused with the social TV tools we regularly use and recommend, like:
Instead, the following tools are ones that we see still evolving and/or emerging.
Social TV Tools to Watch
Shazam is widely known as a music identifying service for mobile phones, but Shazam also has applications for TV. In fact, Shazam has stated publicly it feels its brightest prospects lie in television shows. “Extra content” for a given show can be offered up to the audience through Shazam. The timing of when these show extras are served up, is prompted when the Shazam logo appears on the screen. “Shazam’s David Jones told (ReadWriteWeb) that tweets and check-ins (from apps like GetGlue and Miso) are not compelling enough for users. The bonus content a user gets on Shazam, he suggested, is more compelling.”
Mobcaster is a funding platform for TV creatives and producers to pitch their ideas directly to the audience rather than the networks. The audience can then choose to fund a show or not. “The viewer doesn’t just engage with the content once it’s landed on their screens, he/she engages with the show at the very beginning, using their voice and support to actually get the show made.” This crowdfunding site is one to keep an eye on for how it might disrupt the traditional path a television show must follow to become a success.
Peel is a social TV app that currently only works on Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 devices (pre-installed). Peel is a personalized TV guide. The more members rate their favourite (and least favourite) shows, the smarter Peel becomes with its personalized recommendations. Peel, like other social TV apps, also allows users to share what they’re watching via Twitter and Facebook and follow friends. Notably, Peel developed a real-time engagement feature this year for American Idol. Viewers could boo or cheer in real-time to the judges using Peel. (It should be noted American Idol was not an official partner)
ClipSync is designed to bridge the gap between how viewers socialize and how viewers watch a show. The technology created by Clipsync enables viewers watching a TV show or film to connect virtually with any number of friends. Audiences can “launch live movie groups and participate in special events for specific films… to interact around live events, director’s cuts, deleted scenes, special screenings, interviews and premieres.” – Source
Loyalize is another social TV tool that creates real-time participation between a show or live event and its audience. Loyalize gives content providers a way to integrate white label experiences into their programs; experiences like games, polls and chats. The more audience members participate, the more rewards they receive. Rewards can then be redeemed for branded merchandise.
Time Magazine voted IntoNow the best smartphone app of 2011. Currently only available in the USA, IntoNow allows users to tag shows they’re watching. As stated on its App Store page:
“Just tap the green button when you’re watching TV- whether live or recorded – and IntoNow will identify the show and reward you with related content, personalized recommendations, and discussions to connect with friends.”
TVplus creates immersive, interactive experiences for viewers while watching their favourite shows. “The technology uses audio fingerprinting to identify a given piece of content and sync a viewer’s second screen device to the exact moment within the show. TVplus then delivers relevant contextual and social content at specific moments of the program, creating deeper engagement for viewers and additional connection opportunities for networks, content creators, cable systems and brand advertisers.”- Crunchbase
What other social TV tools are out there that you think are worth sharing?
Your remote is ringing. Oh no wait.. it’s a text. My bad.
You don’t need to be told that the way you watch TV is changing. We can see the change coming in so many ways. Some of us embracing it more firmly than others. But this week is a good time to start thinking about this impending revolution, in Canada anyway. As we tweeted earlier this week, Shaw Media is now partnering with GetGlue for some of its shows.
GetGlue is a social network specifically designed for entertainment. You can “check-in” to shows, films or music you’re listening to, to obtain stickers and ultimately, rewards. You will also see who else is a fan of your favorite shows or bands. GetGlue has been around for a few years, but less accessible to Canadians.
As of January 2012, the network reached 2-million members and a cool 100-million check-ins in 2011. Largely it’s American fans that have led the charge, but this recent move by Shaw could now make GetGlue more relevant for Canadian fans.
Now would be an excellent time to give GetGlue a test drive…especially given that this year we’ve broken all sorts of records for social media engagement with and/or about TV events, such as the SuperBowl and the Grammy’s. It’s clear people want to socialize, virtually, around their favorite content. Maybe it’s time to see what all the fuss is about.
The social television trend is going strong and getting stronger, as evidenced by the recent SXSW conference in Austin, TX. The question now is will you come along for the ride?
After watching a video about Google Goggles, I was reminded of its potential.. and was motivated to give it a whirl. However, as I walked through the activation steps in the app, the final screen asked if I wanted to Enable Search History.
It read “With search history, you’ll be able to view and manage saved copies of the pictures you take. Your images will also be retained by Google to help improve our service.” The finer print explained my IP address, and all my information available through my Google Account will also be retained by Google, in association with the picture, for up to 5 weeks.
Knowing that, which would you choose: Disable or Enable?
The trouble with this is I can’t know how I will use Goggles. I don’t expect there would be any reason not to enable this setting, but then, might I regret that some day? How could I know? How does anybody know?
I suppose, if in doubt, I should choose Disable. But then I’m not contributing to the enhancement of a tool I’m using. Seems a bit contradictory, no?
What’s at issue here is the false appearance of empowerment that companies like Google give us. They’re telling us we are in control by choosing privacy settings such as the one stated above, but when we can’t possibly comprehend the impact of those choices, how empowered are we?
To explore how Google Goggles works, simply click on this picture below to launch a video.