April 5, 2011

Metrics advice: Think KPIs not ROI

JD LasicaOne of the most packed sessions at this last’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco was “Measuring the Future: New Metrics for New Media,” a solo talk given by Margaret Francis, Vice President of Product at Lithium, one of our top 10 social media monitoring vendors.

“Social media is an effective way to create awareness of and interest in products and services,” she told the 400 onlookers. So, how do you do that?

Those of us who do social media consulting for brands bump up against this all the time: The client — properly, of course — wants metrics to gauge the success of their social media or social marketing efforts and to shift course when they’re not hitting their goals.

There are tons of things you could be measuring. David Berkowitz even listed 100 ways to measure social media, but that’s the way to get lost in the weeds.

Instead, Francis said, “Measure strategy, not stuff.” That is, focus entirely on what you’re trying to accomplish with your social media program or campaign and then identify the Key Performance Indicators that will tell you, over time, whether you’re getting there.

Four kinds of applied metrics

While companies want to talk about their social media ROI, they really need to focus on identifying KPIs that map to business objectives.

Francis laid out four kinds of applied metrics that you should be focusing on in your metrics program:

  1. Brand perception: “It’s why Visa sponsors the Olympics and why Coca-Cola sponsors the Special Olympics,” she said. “It’s why you’re on Twitter.” It’s about maintaining or enhancing your brand’s reputation, perception and visibility. So you measure KPIs that inform factors like customer satisfaction score or likeliness to buy.
  2. Marketing efficiency: You should be look at your website, optimize for SEO and study where your traffic is coming from: Twitter, Facebook, blogs. (Twitter, I’ll add, now drives more than 10 percent of the New York Times’ traffic. Facebook drives at least 13 percent of MSN’s and Yahoo’s traffic.) Study your analytics. “You’ve got to have a web analytics tracking system on your website,” she said. “It’s all about reach.” And that means you may need to track the “little ticky-tacky metrics” that add up to painting a fuller picture.
  3. Continue reading

May 7, 2010

A small slice of Web 2.0 Expo

Central Desktop at Web 2.0 Expo from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the big tech conferences of the year, SF-based Web 2.0 Expo, is now in the books. I was able to attend only two of the four days, but here are some takeaways:

I had a chance to check out Central Desktop on the tradeshow floor. Above is my 3 1/2 minute interview with sales rep Mandy Gonzales. Central Desktop is an online collaboration platform that allows you to streamline your document and project workflow and collaborate with other team members.

Like Google Docs, it’s an entire web-based cloud solution, only more robust. At Web 2.0 Expo they unveiled their Microsoft Office plug-in, which enables real-time co-authoring capabilities. Central Desktop works with lots of different verticals, from large companies to universities and nonprofits. Their sweet spot seems to be small to medium-size businesses where 50 to 250 users might collaborate on a project.

Mandy also pointed out that a lot of consultants will use Central Desktop as an external portal to share documents with their clients and to take advantage of its transparent communication and project management features. Clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CBS, Netflix, Amtrak, Day’s Inn, Harvard, Stanford University, the Humane Society and others.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo
Watch or embed the video on YouTube

Other snippets from Web 2.0 Expo

All about .co: Want to get in on the next Internet land grab? “The .co era is arriving July 20,” according to Create Your Opportunity, which is running a $50,000 contest that ends June 14. I think what this means is that Colombia is making its nation suffix available to registrants — for a price — just as Tonga did with .to, Grenada with .gd and British Indian Ocean Territory with .io. (See the Wikipedia entry.)

If you have a domain name you’d like to pre-register, you can do it right now. But be warned: If anyone else pre-registers the same domain, it goes to a bidding war. The fact that you were first doesn’t matter. Which is why I’m not bothering to pre-register socialmedia.co — I won’t pay the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost to win it.

Will .co cause confusion to users who associate .co with “country” — like guardian.co/uk/ — or “Colombia” instead of “company”? You bet!

SEO workshop: Great workshop on SEO, especially by Rand Fishkin (CEO and founder, SEOmoz) and Stephan Spencer (Covario). You can see both slide shows on the SEOmoz blog — I may do a separate writeup on this if I have time. Continue reading

May 16, 2009

UK startups suss out Silicon Valley

Web Mission: UK startups come to Silicon Valley from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOli Barrett, co-founder of Web Mission, talks about the group of 20 small startups from the United Kingdom that recently visited Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, and what the participants took away from the trip.

The 7-minute interview was conducted on the top floor of Moscone West during the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Continue reading

April 18, 2009

Girls in Tech: Empowering women in technology

Girls in Tech from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaFor years I’ve bemoaned the lack of women on stage at the scores of tech conferences and events I attend. Girls in Tech is out to change that.

I caught up with founder Adriana Gascoigne and executive managing director Robyn Cohen at Web 2.0 Expo earlier this month.

Adriana describes Girls in Tech as an organization geared toward the empowerment, education and engagement of women in technology. Here are some of their initiatives:

A few days ago they launched the Girls in Tech University, offering a curriculum to college students and others who want to ramp up their involvement in the tech sector.

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April 5, 2009

Photos of Web 2.0 Expo

Girls in Tech

JD LasicaAnyone who attends the annual Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco knows that you go for the connections. And while there were plenty of worthwhile sessions and talks this year, I wound up spending more time meeting and reconnecting with a good number of technology influencers.

I’ll be posting video interviews soon with Adriana Gascoigne and Robyn Cohen of Girls in Tech, Jeanette Gibson of Cisco and Oli Barrett, who headed up a 20-company delegation from London to Silicon Valley. (I’ll be returning the favor in July when the Traveling Geeks visit London.) Meantime, here’s a 43-shot Web 2.0 photo gallery on Flickr.

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April 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Expo: Copyright risks

fred von lohmann

(Photo of Fred von Lohmann at ETech last month by Scott Beale — I was exhausted today so didn’t bring my camera!)

The most interesting session of Day Four of the Web 2.0 Expo today, for me, was the presentation by Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Fred von Lohmann about copyright risks. Fred (whom I devoted a chapter to in Darknet and who blogs at  Deep Links) laid out how Web 2.0 companies built on user-created content receive some protections under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PDF).

Most attorneys refer to these four sections of the DMCA as the "safe harbor" provisions, but Fred likened them more to islands than harbors.

DMCA Section 512(a) is "Conduit Island": if you’re an Internet Service Provider providing connectivity, you won’t be held responsible if your users infringe content. This applies to pipe providers like AOL, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T.

Section 512(b) is "Caching Island," which von Lohmann said "was designed for AOL’s caching activities around 1997." This  "walled network" provision is largely outdated.

Section 512(c) is "Hosting Island" and may be the most part of the DMCA as it applies to Web 2.0 start-ups and web-hosting companies. 

Section 512(d) is "Search Engine Island," which protects indexing and searching of possibly infringing materials and covers all search engines, including MSN, Yahoo and Google.

Von Lohmann talked chiefly about the third provision, companies that host user-generated content. It’s a huge category and growing bigger (as yesterday’s stats show, growing from 2 percent to 12 percent of the online content universe in the past 2 years), covering blog hosting sites like Blogger, music lockers like mp3tunes, music playlist sharing sites like Avvenu and imeem, photo sharing sites like Flickr, video sharing sites like YouTube and Ourmedia, file hosting services like Pando, and combination sites like MOG.

He extended his metaphor this way: "The big question is: how close to the waterline are you?: The search engines are well protected, but it’s unclear how safe new businesses in the hosting arena are, given that there is little or no case law. 

To get on and stay on "the island," von Lohmann said, it’s important to follow three steps: Register a copyright agent with the U.S. Copyright Office; and provide provisions for notice and takedown and an infringer termination policy in your site’s Terms of Service.

Creative Commons

Von Lohmann then moved into an interesting discussion of Creative Commons licenses and pointed to the millions of photos on Flickr available under various CC licenses.

At one point I held aloft my Nokia N93 camera phone and asked Fred, "I just took a photo of you. I’m uploading it to my Flickr account and giving it a CC Attribution license. Are others free to remix it and use it commercially, or do they need your permission as well?"

The answer, he said, is complicated. It all depends. You skirt the copyright issue because of the Creative Commons license. But other laws come into play, chiefly centering on privacy and rights of publicity.

A person can’t take a photo of Michael Jordan at a public event and then embed that image into a shoe line for commercial purposes without obtaining Jordan’s permission. You can’t use a high-powered telephoto lens to peer into someone’s bedroom and then make the images available for people to use however they want. Ultimately, test cases will determine the contours of the law in this area.

Another interesting issue is: What does noncommercial mean? "Creative Commons has had enormous internal debates about that. There’s an enormous grey area — the licenses don’t define what ‘noncommercial’ means." Your best bet is to go into the CC wiki and examine the discussion about commercial and noncommercial uses.

Cross-posted to Darknet.

More Web 2.0 Expo coverage via Technorati.

And at Wired: Tim O’Reilly: Web 2.0 Is About Controlling Data.