Aaron Gray // Greater Returns

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Musings on Web Analytics, product strategy + other stuff.

Measuring Web 2.0 Technologoes – Panel Discussion

I’ll be a panelist on the Web Analytics Association’s upcoming webcast Measuring Web 2.0 Technologies on Thursday, March 20, 2008 @ 12:00 PM ET / 9:00 AM PT. Other panelists include Brett Crosby of Google Analytics, Brian Tomz of Coremetrics, and Wes Funk of Omniture.

If you want to hear some lively discussion, I recommend that you register and attend.

Filed under: web 2.0, Web Analytics

Narrowing the GAP

Here’s another example of a languishing brand attempting a turn-around. The GAP hasn’t stood for anything in particular in years (except bland, I guess). I’m not sure they’ve actually narrowed the focus to a point where they will be successful.

Laura Ries has some thoughts on what happened and where they should go. It’s an interesting read, and I recommend it.

This will be another one to watch.

Filed under: Marketing, Positioning

Semphonic X Change 2008

The 2nd annual Semphonic X Change is now on the calendar. Eric Peterson has some good thoughts about last year’s conference.

I was a huddle leader (there are no presenters) at X Change 2007, and it was an awesome experience. X Change is different because we are all there to learn from each other in intimate, small group settings. As a huddle leader, what I witnessed was a group of people who realized that each of them held key pieces of knowledge that, if they opened up to the group, became incredibly valuable as a part of the whole body of knowledge and experience contained in the room. We all learned far more from each other through discussion than any of us would have learned just listening to me talk.

If you have a chance to go this year, I highly recommend it. I hope to be there myself.

Filed under: Web Analytics

Tracking Your Reputation Online

Over the last several days I’ve been doing some research and experimentation with tracking reputation online. I’m a little surprised at the lack of tools to do what I think should be done. (I know, product opportunity.)

There are a lot of solutions that track “buzz”. But buzz is one dimensional. It’s fine and useful to know that 95 blog posts mentioned you last month, or that 35 forum discussions mentioned your brand. But what does that really tell you? If you believe that all PR is good PR (I do not believe this) then I guess that’s all you need to know. Here are a few things that are missing in the solutions I’ve seen so far:

Qualitative Information: Were the mentions of my brand in a positive context or a negative context? Am I trending positive or trending negative? Is that spike in buzz last week due to that bad press about my brand, and is it fanning the flames? Do certain social media environments tend to favor my brand while other tend to disfavor? I don’t expect the solution to know this, but I want a way to easily score or mark each mention, and then report on it.

Collaboration / Ability to operationalize acting on data: This esoteric sounding requirement is really just me saying “I need to be able to do something with this data, now. It’s not good enough to just have it sitting there”. In my vision of a healthy internal online reputation management program you’ve got people throughout your organization ready to engage and contribute to discussions throughout the social mediasphere. As you discover new discussions that warrant engagement, you need to be able to assign those discussions to people in your organization, allow them to update their progress on a particular assignment, and collect important information about the engagement such as details about key influencers (like other channels of engagement key influencers use). In other words, if I discover a conversation about my brand on Twitter, and that leads me to a blog post from that same person, and it turns out that person is a key influencer, I need to keep track of the channels that key influencer uses. If I later find out that this key influencer is a regular contributor to an online forum, I need to be able to keep track of that detail, too. Why? Because key influencers are people I need to develop a relationship with. To have a relationship with them, I need to know where to follow them. By the same token, I need to be able to treat some mentions as just aggregate noise. I don’t care about the person, and I don’t need anyone to engage, but I want to score it and report on it. Then, don’t show it to me again.

Categorization & Reporting: Going back to my first want, I need to be able to categorize each mention for reporting and analysis purposes. Aside form the pos/neg score (which isn’t a category), I want to tag each one for the products or topical references made that are important to me. Is it about one of my products? Is it about the company in general? Is it about the industry in general? All of this detail doesn’t really do anything for me at the individual mention level, but when you aggregate mentions, and the start looking for correlations between various attributes and your positive/negative score, you are suddenly armed with real insight that can help you form or reform your strategy for reputation management.

Lastly, I want this tool to be a rich internet application (RIA). I’m already living in my web browser, I don’t want another desktop app, even if it pretends to be a browser. My browser is highly personalized to my work style. A browser based app allows me to leverage my browser setup, rather than making me move back and forth.

For sure, I haven’t see all the tools out there yet. So far my experience has been on the extremes: internet applications that are too simplistic; and desktop applications that aren’t really built for what I’m trying to do.

If you have any experiences to share in this arena, I’d love to hear them.

Filed under: Marketing, Social Media

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