An RFP for the Measurement Industry
Where is the blog measurement tool that could measure more than “eyeballs”, more than “authority” via inbound links, and could begin to approach measuring influence and relevance? Jory Des Jardins moderates this discussion between Amy Gahran, Elizabeth Lee and Jenna Woodul as they scope out what is, is not and ought to be available.
Jory: there is no way to measure influence, this panel will take a look at what is there and what is missing. There is a large disparity of opinion across different groups. We want to look at the different ways and get to some agreed place.
Jory: so what are we dealing with. As head of business dev with Blogher, I work with a lot of companies that want to measure the blogosphere. We work with traditional ad servers, we get the traditional stuff, but much cannot be tracked – ajax etc screws page views; a blog post is different to a page view, how do you value this? Is the page view dead?
Amy: no, but it is on lifesupport. They are useful, but not on their own, need context.
Jory – agencies are doing it right any more? You said the old agency mindset is no longer useful
Amy: all page views are not created equal, nor are all blogs. Technorati authority look at page views and inbound links to assess authority, this is stupid. you may have a blog with 200 hits, which come from the influentials, than that counts. Sports and pop culture, is that influential??? but high page views. Agencies, look for easy solutions, need more context than page views.
Elizabeth – I work with edelman; looking for the influentials. it is not static. you need to understand each individual, look at the partnership opportunities. Our won network asks this, looking for something similar to traditional media, where there are long term relationships. From a agency, pageview will always have some value, but putting it into larger context, commenting, blogging etc. Web is best representative to track WOM, with standards and structure behind research.
Amy -the same blogger may be influential on some topics and not others within a genre.
Jenna – useful, if you get 1% post to page views, then they are engaged. It is about the people, what are they doing, are they coming back, what actions are they doing when they get there. In early 1984, with AppleLink Community, late at night, one person, would keep hundreds of people online over night. so whatever the technology, it is always the people. It is about the engagement that keeps people coming back.
Jory: with Blogher, we got a lot of people set up with advertising. the stats that the bloggers had did not match the stats of the 3rd party ad server, by 40%. Bots and spiders do not get tracked by ad servers.
Jenna – we charge people based on pageviews. So when billing, customers did not want to pay for bots etc. We had to convince them that there was value for that. We see spiders, from search engines, so how many are new, how many return, so we can see how much the cost was for returning from search engines.
Q: how do talk to clients about identifying the top clients?
Elizabeth – we recommend doing in depth research; we recommend some online monitoring, could be one time to ongoing. we try and map out who talks and who listens. for niche topics, there may be a blogger just for that topic or part of the category. Who is listened to? it is part of much larger research picture. Then you have to see if they are open to be engaged by you; we develop different types of lists for different reasons.
Amy: I go about it a little differently; i go about backwards. I see who is listening. As specifically as possible what are the goals and who do they need to reach – what is the specific group. I try and find the discussion forums and see what they are saying and what blogs do they recommend.
Jory: Who uses technorati? Almost everyone. So what’s wrong with it?
Amy: they do not do a good job for relevance. icerocket and spear are better, does not filter out blogspam.
Elizabeth – use authority level to remove spam
Amy – i get better results to begin with icerocket/spear,
Jory – they all pick up slightly different.
Q: (Toby) Technorati can track different feeds for the same blogs, can confuse measurements.
Q: I still have not been able to claim my blog, so don;t like them…
Jory – so influence. So lets define. What do you look for?
Jenna – it is engagement, what do other people do as a result of that. the more engaged a community, the more sense to do things. Loyalty is 45x higher for those that get involved. They buy about 57% more, that come 9x more often stay 5x longer. A recent ebay study, looking at people who had ot been int he community. invited half to join the community, the active participants spent 54% more, did 4x as much listing and sold 6x as much. (and the lurkers also increased). See Harvard Business Review/Community 2.0 conference.
Elizabeth -the process of inciting change in thinking and behaviours, from source that is relevant and has a audience with vested interest.
Jory – it varies by the client..
E: one would be relevant frequency, how relevant is it to what you are seeking. How often do they talk, how close a match. then there is reach, but relevant reach, who is listening. Also identity, qualifications of the blogger. What authority do they have?
Amy: go to writeconversation.com, see the posts. organisations are busy about worrying who they are influencings and don’t worry about how it is influencing the organisation. when it comes to things that effect economics and other things, there are accounting systems, I was thinking about how influence can come into your organisation. So ideas can come in (R&D), insights from diverse perspectives, you get validation and motivation from people paying attention(HR). There is good will. (PR) And there is trust. (money/Sales) All of these things can be related to internal departments. Instead of through traditional metrics take to the accountants, to HR etc to see how to measure.
Jory: So Alicia, Harper collins, what challenges did you have bringing blogging over to them.
Alicia: the resistance was 2fold; publishing was traditional. they want to keep control and control how they look in public. blogs are not easily measurable; how do we do ROI. My response was you can;t, it is qualitative. We did an experiment, when we had one book with no media and we had virtual book tour with 40 influential parenting bloggers talking about this. Initially the feedback was fear (internally). they wanted to ask to take posts down, we did not let them..but there was a lot of conversation. Our amazon ranks jumped from in 1000s to 200s. there are a lot of people who do not see blogging as powerful as a newspaper review. It is slowly happening.
Q: I know the NYT are reading my blog for ideas and stories. this influences out as well. I comment in the papers.
Jory: How do we make it concrete?
Elizabeth: when we do audit, we recommend and then ongoing monitoring. you get valuable consumer insight. we recommend a full scale audit, so you get a benchmark, get measures at the beginning. we go out and determine what the client is looking for; is it the brand or the topic, the subtopics etc, look at competitor set. Look at how much chatter, how much relevant chatter. then what exactly are they talking about. Find out what they are really interested in. Next, who is talking about the stuff. Where are they talking, where do they choose to talk. After that, then links, citations, where are they getting the info, what do they share. finally tone and sentiment, we use tools and the human eye. We always tell clients about technorati, boardreader.com, Buzzmetrics is a partner; they have brandpulse; intelliseek is another tool they can provide. Brandpulse helps automate searches in the space, but is a heavy investment, so for smaller people, look at agencies that spread out the costs. Buzzlogic, their definition of influence changes – relevance (how keywords match up), occurrence, popularity (inbound links) attention – relevancy of inbound links. they have a algorithm and can be tweaked according to your objectives. They also map connections, between the influencers.
Amy: i deal a lot with news orgs and independents; I’ve got some low tech tools. Look at the server logs; google analytics is OK – visualisation is nice and it is free. Best way is omniture, still pay but worth it. Great interface, easy to use. All give you the referrer logs. very useful to see where people are coming from. Have a desktop feedreader, to allow opml import and export; this allows me to share search feeds across people; I have not found web based service for flagging and sharing items in a group. I use Newsfire on the mac. Comment tracking tools are important, but mostly suck. Co-comment is buggy, works well in general. co.mments is also there. I tend to use both of them.
Q: (Anil) your brand does not get that many mentins normally. SixApart may get 250 posts a day, I spend time going through it. I delicious things, I have an internal blogs. I just search on icerocket, sphere, setting things up, it’s like dashboard. I do the saem search on lots of tools, save each one on a tab and open regularly. There are only 2 of us, we do it quite well. we bookmark after answering, so we can track. On boards, people feel it can be intrusive, that they are in a private conversation and do not like big corporates butting in.
Jenna – if you have moderators on boards etc, get them to manage it and get them to pull out things.
Q: Is there something that is not an enterprise cost?
A: Buzzlogic appears to be a reasonable cost. It seems to be the most affordable tool found yet.
Amy – use your brain and use them well.. What are your goals; the more specific you can be about your goals then more specific the communities that you are targeting; then budget is more effective.
Q: (Michelle) – feedburner, you have your eggs in one basket. is there an alternative?
A: nothing really bought up
Jory – how about listening
Amy: it depends on situation and timeframe. you have to prioritise. I work with papers etc, and a lot of reporters were not happy with blogging; a friend of mine was not happy but then started to relax, to ask for opinions. He worked the environment beat, not a lot of space in paper, so started posting on blog, getting tonnes of comments, and the editors then allowed him more space in paper.
Jory: How do you make case for corporations? How do you create cases.
Jenna: they all have different reasons. if looking for buzz, then page views is important. Others are doing research, doing online events; eg a car company found out that moms wanted a extra cupholder which kid can reach. Campbells launched a soup, sent product out, got invaluable information. If other users are answering the questions, you can see how much support costs are being saved. Each customer wants something different.
Jenna – we are looking at creating an engagement scale…so we say the level of engagement. So we would like to track over lifecycle of a user.
Elizabeth: we are looking at it, trying to rank. We decided to build a proprietary tool to do the measurement, to match activities and input and output. We want an organised way to track and are working our way through it.
Amy: In the last session,Lena West said you cannot quantify ROI without looking at the whole daisy chain. So can we get an addon to linked in or something to track the networks? It would be cool to have a tool to track what we do and the results, track influence and favours. (this is a real application, Hilary Rosen -from the LWord. Ourchart.com)