Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

2014 World Series Social Prediction

2014 World SeriesWhile baseball may be known as the sport of the summer, everyone knows that the real excitement doesn’t even start until October.

In October the top teams play and vie for their chance to be in the MLB World Series.

Well, those teams have all played and starting tonight we will all bare witness to the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals kick off their best of seven series to see who will be crowned the 2014 World Series champions.

It promises to be an incredibly exciting series. The Giants have been a powerhouse team for the past few years. This will be their third trip to the World Series since 2010 and they won both of their previous times here. On the other side, the Royals haven’t even made it into the MLB playoffs in 29 years, but battled their way through this year and now have a chance to take it all.

It’s really very exciting.

As we’ve done in previous years, we thought it would be fun to take a look at both of these teams and how they’ve appeared in social media over the 2014 season using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to see if that data can predict a World Series winner.

First, we started our assessment by looking up mentions of both teams over the course of the season (March 22 to October 20). In that time, we found the Giants mentioned in over 10 million social media conversations. They appeared in 191,057 blog posts, 563,685 online news articles, 279,624 forum postings and 9,737,47 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary for the San Francisco Giants

Meanwhile, the Royals were mentioned in almost 7 million conversations. We found the Royals appear in 80,985 blog posts, 280,674 online news articles, 242,175 forum postings and 6,287,126 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary for the Kansas City Royals

For perspective, we’ve also brought those numbers up as a pie chart for side by side comparison. This shows that out of both teams the Giants lead the way of social mentions with 61% of the conversation while the Royals make up the remaining 39%.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Comparison

As well, side by side in a channel breakdown, you can see that the Giants clearly got more mentions in each individual medium.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Comparison by Source

A look at mentions of both teams shows that throughout the entire season the Giants had a more vocal fan base. The Giants saw more volume of conversation throughout the entire season aside from when the Royals found that they were moving on past the regular season. When the Royals moved into the playoffs there was a huge spike in mentions of the team due to the fact this was the first time they had been in the post-season in 29 years.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Comparison Over Time

The number of mentions don’t mean everything though. Because of this, we also dove into the sentiment around each team… and actually found some interesting results.

Throughout the season the Royals showed a 83% favourable rating. We found that 27% of the talk about the Royals was positive while 17% was negative.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment of the Kansas City Royals

When we looked at the sentiment around the Giants though, we found that most of it seemed to be in the neutral range (which was strange, so we ran the query multiple times but always came to the same results). The Giants showed a 96% favourable rating. There was an odd 1% of positive sentiment around the Giants and only 4% negative chatter.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment of the San Francisco Giants

What does this all mean though?

Well, technically all it means is that the San Francisco Giants have a much more vocal fan base than the Kansas City Royals. In fact, earlier in the season the Royals coach called out the fans for not showing enough support for their team.

However, if we want to use this data to try and predict a World Series winner, we would have to crown the Giants to take it all. Their fans have been more vocal about the team both in terms of volume and favourable talk.

So, our prediction is that the San Francisco Giants will take the World Series over the Kansas City Royals.

But since this isn’t a real science around actual player performance, only time will tell who will really walk away as the 2014 World Series champions.

Who do you think is going to take the World Series this year?

Can Keek Achieve Monetization Bliss?

keek

In many ways, Keek is the ideal case study of how social media success doesn’t always translate into financial success.

The service, which lets people share 36-second videos – called “Keeks” – has been wildly successful with more than 65 million users. The Toronto-based was billed as “Canada’s Instagram” and it enjoyed such strong growth that it was able to raise $30-million along the way.

Keek’s 64-year-old CEO, Issac Raichyk, was hailed as an example of an older entrepreneur who could enjoy success in a world dominated by 20-somethings.

In that respect, it was a huge success.

The problem, however, was Keek had a difficult time monetizing its traffic to capitalize on its popularity. In the six months that ended Aug. 31, 2013, Keek lost $13 million. That’s almost twice the burn rate the company had during the previous fiscal year, when it lost $15 million.

After a much-speculated $100-million financing failed to materialize last year, the company agreed to sell itself to Primary Petroleum Corp., a Calgary-based listed junior energy company. Raichyk was replaced as CEO by Primary’s Mike Marrandino.

That seemed to mark the end of a spectacular but short run as an upcoming and coming social media service.

But Keek is still around, and it looks like it may have discovered a way to make money.

According to MediaPost, Keek will begin hosting advertisements in the U.S.

Keek will partner with Twitter’s MoPub and Google DoubleClick AdExchange for Web-based inventory. “We project about 10% of revenue will come from the real-time marketplace offering real-time bidding and programmatic, and 70% through advertising networks,” said Keek senior vice-president Bill Blummer.

It is left to be seen whether Keek can financially successful but it does illustrate that being popular doesn’t necessarily equate to driving revenue.

One of Keek’s problem as it exploded was the lack of a strong business plan to reap the benefits of having lots of users. It was a classic example of a startup that figured it would eventually find a way to make money.

In that sense, Keek was behaving in the same way as many other social media networks who adopted a build-it-and-we-will-make-money-later approach. Case in point is Twitter, which is driving significant revenue growth through advertising, while e-commerce is on the horizon.

While the future is still uncertain for Keek, the upside is it has another chance to become a business rather than simply a popular service.

Did JetBlue Boot a Passenger Because of a Tweet?

140602172212-jetblue-plane-story-topWhile social media is a powerful asset to both brands and users, it has a folly which can sometimes undermine its capabilities. This folly is that it is meant to share opinions in real time but those opinions can come back to haunt you in an instant.

This was proven recently when JetBlue kicked a passenger off of a flight, believed to be because of a series of tweets that the pilot felt were accusatory. The accusation was that he was intoxicated.

A delayed flight, this time from Boston to Philadelphia, tends to lend itself to Twitter coverage. In general, Twitter has become a hub for complaints about delayed flights, unruly passengers and bad experiences with airlines.

This time was no different, but it seemed to reiterate the point of accountability and how brands view tweets in a very serious light, one that prompts immediate action or reaction.

The comment by the passenger seemed rather innocent. It involved the passengers saying it had been a long night and he hoped there was a fully stocked bar on the airplane.

JetBlue like any organization had to decide how to handle that situation which best protected its image and reputation. It’s tough to fault them for acting so swiftly, regardless of how you interpret the tweet.

Social media has changed so many aspects of brands and how they do business, and the fallout seems to be that so many are on constant high alert.

In fairness to those who believe JetBlue overreacted, it did administer a sobriety test for the pilot. They claimed afterwards that the passenger was removed due to unruly behaviour, and that they would never remove a passenger for expressing criticism on any medium.

This might be one of those social media tales where the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Feuding Movies Go Social

gcpd-batman-movie-jack-snyderThere’s a crossover war happening between Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the new Star Wars film. The battleground is social media and fans seem to be eating it up.

It all started when the director of the next instalment of Star Wars, J.J. Abrams, sent the man donning the cape and cowl as the Dark Knight, Ben Affleck, a photo of he and his camera operator wearing cheap Batman masks.

Affleck then showed the photo to Zack Snyder, Director of Batman v. Superman, and then all bets were off.

From there, Snyder posted an image of storm troopers being pushed into a police cruiser by Gotham City police officers. Abrams responded with a video teasing the Millennium Falcon where underneath the Batmobile was camouflaged and hidden.

Something so simple escalated then exploded into an elaborate and fun exercise in buzz building across multiple social networks.

All of the images were shared over and over again, and it even created a social war of words between fans of Star Wars and those of DC. Anticipation for both films (Star Wars in 2015 and Batman v. Superman in 2016) is sky high and these stunts have only heightened their appeal.

It has also quelled the disgruntled fans who are upset about the Affleck casting or that the Star Trek director is helming another iconic sci-fi franchise. This might have been the greatest gift of this spontaneous social media campaign.

The lesson for brands is to have fun and leverage your competitors in playful and creative ways.

No Stopping the Facebook Juggernaut

According to a new survey by Piper Jaffray, teenagers are losing their fascination with Facebook.

Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, Piper Jaffray found that Facebook use among 13 to 19-year-olds dropped to 45% from 72%.

social media, facebook IPOThe news attracted a lot of media coverage but investors shrugged it off given Facebook is trading just below a 52-week high.

In the past, I haven’t been convinced about Facebook’s ability to drive ultra-growth but I have now realized it is a juggernaut with the ability to adapt and innovate.

And if Facebook is unable to innovate internally, it buys what it needs – e.g. Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp.

As important, Facebook is maturing and expanding as a business. Armed with huge amounts of user data, Facebook is the leading place online for advertisers to target specific groups.

If you’re an advertiser, for example, interested in 35-to-year-old males in Seattle who play chess, you can micro-target them on Facebook. That’s powerful data for advertisers that want a return on investment.

At a conference last week in Toronto, Gary Vaynerchuk was enthusiastic about Facebook as an advertising platform.

In particular, he talked about the value of “dark posts”, which are posts that don’t appear on a timeline but can be access via a direct link or by clicking on an ad. (Check out this post by Duct Tape Marketing to learn more about why dark posts are the best approach to Facebook advertising.)

You may not like how Facebook keeps changing the rules of engagement in how the service works. And you may have problems with how much of your data is being leveraged to make the platform attractive to advertisers.

But the reality is people use Facebook because it is a user-friendly way to keep in touch with friends and family. It has become a part of your personal digital presence, as much as having an email address.

And while people may gravitate to Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter as alternative to Facebook, they don’t offer the same utility as Facebook so they can’t be replacements.

Whether or not you’re a Facebook fan, you have to give Facebook a lot of credit for being agile, aggressive and unafraid to changes thing to keep the platform and business moving forward.

This is not an organization content to rest on its laurels. The $2-billion acquisition of Oculus, which develops virtual reality technology, shows how Facebook is already looking over the horizon strategically.

I would suggest that anyone who believes Facebook has peaked or lost its mojo should think again. The Piper Jaffray survey is interesting but it doesn’t really suggest there are crack in the Facebook armour.

What do you think? Is Facebook still the dominant social media player, or do you see signs of trouble?

social media usage

 

Social Media Sneers at Subway Ads

subway-halloween-eat-light-hed-2014Another week and another brand feels the not so gentle lash of social media outrage.

This time the brand in question is Subway, who recently ran a series of ads about how Subway sandwiches can help women fit into their halloween costumes.

Both men and women took to Twitter and Facebook to label the commercials as sexist and old fashioned. Now, this post is in no way to pass judgement on Subway, it is merely to look at the swift hand of justice that belongs to social media.

The ads were slammed. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. Whether you think they were sexist or not, the social media activity reflected a very negative tone.

Many users were not kind to Subway, wondering what was going through the minds of those who produced the ads.

Social media reflects the pulse of our times. We are currently in a zeitgeist of questioning gender equality. This is a constant streaming conversation on many social media platforms.

like any brand that has encountered this trial by digital fire, Subway will rebound from this and best of all they will learn many valuable lessons.

One of these lessons is that regardless of the medium in which it airs, social media will judge your content. In 2014 and going forward, mediums are interlocked with social media. Even billboards are not a safe haven.

Another lesson is that you have to be aware of the important topics that are being discussed in the world. Before brainstorming ideas, check out social media and see what users are interested in and figure out what to put forward and what to avoid.

Social media expects brands to be modern and conscientious, respectful of both customers and non-customers. It’s not an easy job but it’s now the cost of doing business.

Just How Popular Is Ello?

ElloEllo seems to be the favourite new kid on the social media block as of the past few weeks. Yesterday on the blog Mark even wrote about how many users are claiming they’re moving over to Ello to “escape” Facebook.

But is it really possible for Ello to replace Facebook?

In my personal opinion, I’d say not quite. For one thing (and this is my personal thought), I think that Ello feels a lot more like Twitter currently than Facebook. And secondly, and probably most importantly, in order for Ello to actually replace Facebook in people’s lives, the exodus over to the new network would have to be enormous. The only way that Ello could replace Facebook is if all of your friends and contacts that you’ve connected with over the years all moved there. That will take a very long time… if it happens at all.

But even with my personal thoughts on Ello, I wondered just how popular Ello has actually become in the past few weeks?

On September 26th, just as Ello was starting to go viral, Vox (along with many other sources) reported that the network was receiving 31,000 invite requests an hour. That seems pretty popular to me.

To investigate further, I decided to see what conversations were happening on other social networks about this new social network (very meta, I know).

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, I looked up mentions of Ello over the past month. One hindrance to my search though was that I could only search for English conversations because “ello” in Spanish translates to “it” making it a very common word. So, please keep that in mind when looking at the information below.

If you follow the big names and outlets that talk a lot about social media, you may feel like you’ve been over hearing about Ello. However, when I conducted my search for conversations about the new network I found less than 350,000 mentions of it. In the past month, Ello only came up in 3,042 blog posts, 3,321 online news articles, 3,716 forum postings and 332,692 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

While those numbers may not be as big as people who are hearing about it nonstop may expect, it’s also interesting to note that the majority of those conversations have only happened in the past two weeks.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart Without Twitter Data

Since Ello is being dubbed the “anti-Facebook” it made sense for me to also search public Facebook data to see how much it was being talked about there. Again, the number of Ello mentions I found there was not quite as large as I initially thought it was going to be. That said, it has still accounted for 28,598 mentions in public status updates. Also interesting is that if you look at the three examples in the screenshot below, you’ll notice that a lot of the mentions are people posting a link to their new Ello account on Facebook. It’s interesting because people feel the need to use Facebook to tell their friends that they’ve joined the “anti-Facebook.”

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Activity Summary

As with any new social network, people want to understand it and why they should consider grabbing real-estate there. To help with that, there’s already been just over 1,000 videos created that try to explain Ello to others.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary

So, what are people saying about Ello so far? A look at both our buzzgraph and word clouds around the network show that “Facebook” seems to be one of the most used words when people talk about Ello. There is also a significant talk about Ello’s “manifesto”. This manifesto is what seems to be the appeal behind Ello, as it states that people will have more “privacy” as they will never sell your “data” for “advertising.” However, that’s also making people question how the network will stay in “business” for a sustained amount of time.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph

Sysomos MAP - Word Cloud

The other thing that I found interesting about the apparent popularity of Ello revealed itself when I used our Influencer Community tool to see the groups of people that were talking about it. If you’re anything like me, and I assume you might be since you’re reading this blog, you probably follow a lot of sources online that talk about news and trends in the digital and social media space. Well, those are the types of sources seem to be the ones who are perpetuating the talk of Ello. If you look at the big blue community, it’s filled with popular sources for social media news like Forbes Tech, Gigaom and Medium, but also with social media influencers such as @briansolis and @AmyVernon. So, while it may seem to people who work in and follow the social media space that Ello is all the rage, it may really just be the social media people getting each other excited in a big circle.

Interesting as well is that the second largest community I found, in orange below, is a big group of celebrities (mostly from the music industry). When I investigated that group a bit further it seems that fans are tweeting to find out if their favourite celebrities are on Ello yet and where they can find them there.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Influencer Communities

While the real fate of Ello is still up in the air, being that it’s only been popular for a bout two weeks now, it does seem to have a lot of fans. A look at the sentiment around the network shows that it’s 86% favourable.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment Summary

So, what do you think about Ello so far? Is it going to replace Facebook or is it just going to see some hype for a little while and then fall off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The Great Facebook Migration to Ello

Ello“Your social network is owned by advertisers”.

With this powerful mantra, a user enters into Ello, the social network trying to turn the social media game on its head.

Ello is born out of the rebellion towards Facebook and the policy change that require users to use their legal names, as well as the anger towards advertisers that have taken up prime real estate. (Check out this Guardian article about the “New Facebook”)

The response has been overwhelming. People are moving in droves to Ello (or, at least, trying to check out Ello, which is invite-only). Ello is seen as a digital sanctuary from brand invasion. Being labeled the “anti-Facebook” is one way to make a mark and leave an impression.

Ello is built on the foundation that popular social networks have become digital vessels to fool users and sell them as nothing more than data. It is a bit cynical and near-sighted one could argue, but that’s the angle that captured the imagination of social media users looking for something new and different.

To see such a strong response to the Facebook policy of users disclosing their legal names is refreshing on some levels. While social media networks don’t belong to the users, it is users that make them vibrant and interesting, and provide companies with lots of valuable data.

Facebook’s need for legal names is a problem for some people. The LGBT community, for example was vocal in their outrage, and there are people out there with genuine privacy concerns.

The exodus of users, especially those from the LGBT community and its supporters, has made headlines. It might – a big “might” – be the sign of a big migration if Ello can prove its worth over the long haul.

The promise of privacy from Ello and the vow to not be invaded by ads make it an intriguing option. It will be interesting to see Ello it can resists the urge to monetize, particularly if it raises more venture capital. If they build their user base, the potential for profits will be very real.

Ello “bohemian” utopia might be tested in the realm of inappropriate content, which will currently not be flagged. Ello does promise that these filters will be coming soon.

Like any social network, Ello will have to deliver on the content side of things while keeping its values intact.

Would you abandon Facebook for Ello? If so, why?

Big Growth and Big News

Now it’s not usually like us to toot our own horn, but we have some big news to share today and we thought this would be a good time to tell you a bit about what got us here first.

The first thing that we’re incredibly happy about is that in a few days the Sysomos engine that powers both our MAP and Heartbeat software will be processing 400 billion social conversations at any given time. That’s a 4 with 11 zeros behind it (400,000,000,000). That’s an incredible amount of data to process in mere seconds, but we do it every day.

And it’s just going to keep growing. On May 30, 2013 we looked at how many social conversations were happening in a day and found at that time 139 million conversations just across blogs, online news sites, forums and Twitter. Yesterday, we found that that number has grown to 401 million (that’s equal to over 4 terabytes of data a day). In a little over a year, the number of social conversations has more than doubled.

Sysomos MAP - Over 400 Million Social Conversations A Day

But we’re prepared to deal with this ever-growing world of social media by growing with it.

Since last September, we’ve grown our Sysomos family by 50%. We’ve added amazing teammates in every department of our company from accounts to engineering and all the way up to our executive team. All these people have been key in helping us to help you make sense of all those social conversations happening out there. In fact, we’ve had to grow so much because we’ve also grown over 500% on the accounts we’re helping, which we’re proud to say includes 8 of the top 10 brands on Interbrand’s list of the 100 best global brands.

And we’re not done growing.

Today, we’re very excited to announce that as part of this growth, we’ve added a new teammate to our team. As of today Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) will be joining our team as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sysomos.

Amber Naslund

Amber won’t say it herself, but she’s a big mover and shaker in the world of social media. She’s worked in the industry for over 8 years including experience with companies very similar to Sysomos. On top of her experience, she’s constantly being asked to speak at various events and conferences and even co-authored a book on how social media has impacted all business today, The NOW Revolution.

We’re incredibly excited to have Amber on our team and can’t wait to see what she has in mind to help Sysomos grow even more.

To learn more about Amber and find out what she has in mind for her new role, come back tomorrow when we’ll be posting a little Q&A with Amber.

Feel free to reach out to Amber at anytime on Twitter or in the comments below and help us welcome her to the team!

Will The Buy Button Reshape Online Shopping?

twitter_buy_buttonOne of the world’s most active and popular social networks is trying to venture into digital regions that most other networks have been slow to set foot within.

News emerged recently that Twitter was testing a button which would appear on tweets and allow a user to instantly buy something. The button would be embedded and ideally relevant to the post.

Some reports claimed that a non-operational Buy button appeared for some users earlier this year.

The testing involves a small amount of U.S. users who will see and have access to the Buy Button and its functionality. The number will grow as time goes on.

This is a huge development not just for Twitter but for all of social media. The immediacy of learning about products and services both from brands and their fans, then being able to buy is a radical shift.

This is certainly one way to bolster the economy along with the bottom line of many online retailers. The biggest winner in all of this will be Twitter, which would naturally grow from influencing buying decisions to being a shopping mecca.

If successfully deployed, it has the potential to shift Twitter from a social network to a leader in e-commerce. It has the potential to even be the leader in both.

The initial rollout of the button didn’t require the button to be part of an advertisement or appear as a sponsored tweet. Businesses won’t have to pay for the service of the button which means even more businesses will look to Twitter as the place they need to invest their time.

The ease of purchasing will drive users to see Twitter as the ultimate newsfeed and shopping mall meaning the potential is through the roof on many fronts.

The Buy Button should drive advertising dollars, user engagement and most likely a slew of imitators.