Software Blog

Mar 21

Adobe and Google aim to add value and a harder ROI to Social Media

Consumers live in an era where most of what we do on the web is public knowledge, whether we know it or not.   Actually, there are also many things we do off the web are shared through friends that like to check us in on Facebook or free apps working in the background.  Likewise, companies out there are forced to not only hear what we say about them but also need to actually listen and react to stay relevant.  It’s probably a similar awkwardness to when CEO of Spanx Sara Blakely entered her first boardroom in her lingerie; we all feel a little naked in the era of Social.

Google and Adobe have both announced new Social Analytics and related tools this week that have confirmed a few key points we have heard in speaking with SCRM / CEM / SMM vendors for an Evalperiod report coming out next month.

1) The use cases and ROI models for social media software are constantly evolving

Monitoring or analyzing big data funneled in by every avatar out there has enormous value if you define specific use cases and metrics up front.  One vendor I recently spoke with stated they had 41 Billion web articles archived since 2007 (yes, Billion).  Most companies are still looking for that silver bullet report to gain insight and justify their investment.  However, new use cases and software are popping up every quarter (approximately 300 tools right now and counting).  Companies achieving the biggest ROI are typically mixing big data analysis with operational data from a BI tool or DW such as hotel check-ins, software trials, or historical flight data.  However, the real ROI comes after they analyze this data to operationalize how they will engage their community. This week 2 software giants bring us a bit closer to achieving this ROI.

Below: Google Social Analytics Launching Next Week

2) Many of the basic monitoring or analytics tools are going to be commoditized.

The social networks themselves are releasing more capabilities in this area, and unless you are part of the chosen few that have access to Twitter’s fire hose, most vendors are working on the same API’s and limitations.  They are all searching for that “blue ocean” and many are innovating in areas such as campaigns or insights.  Google plans on doing some very interesting things with tracking not only social referrals, and the monetary value you receive by these over time.  An interesting part of this is tracking not only social sources or campaigns customers came from, but also social data (if they came from a source that belongs to Social Data Hub.)  For an expansive report on Google’s new social reports read more here.  Phil Mui, Google Analytics group product manager, explained how the new tool is designed to go beyond listening.

“Many social measurement tools focus on social listening by monitoring keywords and buzz. While they’re helpful in many cases, these tools don’t connect the dots to show how investments in different social channels ultimately lead to sales or business objectives.  Our goal with the new reports is to tie social activities and referrals to measurable, meaningful economic value so businesses can more effectively evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value.”

1) All of these social software categories are merging and overlapping.

Who knows what we’ll call it in 5 years.  Vendors that have been around for a while have either been purchased, bought a company, or are evaluating doing so.  Adobe purchased Efficient Frontier Technology in late 2011 and is largely focused on integrating monitoring and analytics with it’s legacy in Customer Experience Management and Digital Content to form agile, predictive marketing.  Adobe Product Director Matt Langie stated Adobe is:

“The first solution to integrate all of the key roles and responsibilities in social marketing.”

Consolidation like this will eventually mesh together a web of social applications that are more and more embedded in traditional “behind the firewall” systems, until we can’t even find our firewalls.  For more information about Adobe’s latest release see the TechCrunch article here.

Evalperiod helps companies evaluate software faster, with less cost, and lower risk through evaluation services and tools.  For more information on our servides, or a free copy of the report when it comes out contact us here.

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