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  • Gerrit Eicker 11:02 on 21. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Analysis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Peer Groups, , , , Shared Tastes, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Peer Influence 

    Study: When it comes to taste, peer influence in social networks is virtually nonexistent; http://eicker.at/PeerInfluence

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:02 on 21. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      PNAS, Lewis, Gonzalez, Kaufman: “Social selection and peer influence in an online social network – Disentangling the effects of selection and influence is one of social science’s greatest unsolved puzzles: Do people befriend others who are similar to them, or do they become more similar to their friends over time? Recent advances in stochastic actor-based modeling, combined with self-reported data on a popular online social network site, allow us to address this question with a greater degree of precision than has heretofore been possible. Using data on the Facebook activity of a cohort of college students over 4 years, we find that students who share certain tastes in music and in movies, but not in books, are significantly likely to befriend one another. Meanwhile, we find little evidence for the diffusion of tastes among Facebook friends – except for tastes in classical/jazz music. These findings shed light on the mechanisms responsible for observed network homogeneity; provide a statistically rigorous assessment of the coevolution of cultural tastes and social relationships; and suggest important qualifications to our understanding of both homophily and contagion as generic social processes.”

      Wired: “Are We Immune To Viral Marketing? – When it comes to taste, ‘peer influence is virtually nonexistent,’ said Kevin Lewis, a Harvard sociology graduate student who co-authored the study. Lewis cautioned that the experiences of college students on Facebook may not apply to everyone in all circumstances, but the results offer a sobering counterpoint to the conventional wisdom on the ubiquity of taste diffusion. ‘The extent to which friends’ preferences actually rub off on each other is minimal,’ he said. … If we don’t influence each other, does that means viral marketing is a bogus concept? And what does it say about the business value of social media? … The study’s findings suggest that it would be much more worthwhile to invest in understanding how and when friendships are a conduit for preferences, rather than assuming that they are and planning marketing strategies accordingly. ‘They clearly are under some circumstances, but we still don’t know whether those circumstances are common or important enough to warrant the time and money of business strategies,’ said Lewis. … One of the most valuable aspects of social media is who you know. It’s easy to glean information about members of social networks. This focuses sales, marketing and product development efforts. Knowing something about one person gives you insights into the people that person knows. … The Harvard study affirmed that, as in other aspects of life, people’s social media relationships tend to be with people who are like them. … Who you know is arguably a more valuable aspect of social media than who you might be influenced by.

      AT: “Studying the factors that bring people together creates a serious challenge for researchers. Do friendships form because of shared interests, or do those interests develop due to the friendship? A research team has now tracked a set of college students across all four years, using Facebook to identify social ties. The study reveals that people are fundamentally a bit lazy, as proximity provided the strongest predictor of social ties. Once that was accounted for, however, shared tastes in music and film did promote friendships, while books had a minimal effect. … The authors recognize that a Facebook friend probably doesn’t represent the strong social bond that we typically view as a friendship, but it is probably similar to the sort of fluid links that many of us form at work and elsewhere. There’s also a risk that at least some of the choices revealed on Facebook are the product of social posing, rather than deep-seated preferences. Despite these limitations, the study is a rare look at how social dynamics and personal tastes influence each other over the course of some very formative years. It’ll be pretty difficult to arrange a study that provides a clearer picture.

      TC: “Here’s a bit of science that’s contrary to what a heavy utilizer of social networks might expect. Researchers at Harvard tracked the Facebook activity of hundreds of college students for four years, and came away with the rather unexpected result that the interests of friends don’t, in fact, tend to influence one another. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen at all, of course, but it’s clear that propagation and virality are subtler and more complex than some people (marketers and, I suspect, researchers) tend to think they are. … The central source of data for the study, in fact, doesn’t strike me as solid. Tracking the interests of college kids is a sketchy endeavor in and of itself, but tracking it via their Facebook favorites (i.e. what shows on your profile, not what you post about or share) seems unreliable. – After all, not only does everyone use the network in their own way, but the network itself has changed. … The study does establish something that I think we perhaps understand is true already: you befriend people because of your overlaps in taste, but it’s rare that your existing friends change the tastes you already have. This is as much true out in the ‘real’ world as it is online. … The Harvard study does indicate another thing, which is that social networks are, for now, ‘light’ social interaction. … That’s changing, but Facebook doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to make the change to ‘serious’ social interaction: the kind of trusted exchanges you have with friends in conversation or in repeated encounters over years…”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:05 on 18. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Analysis, , , , , , , , , , Corporate Blogging, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Blogosphere 2011 

    Technorati Blogosphere 2011: blogging and social media, marketing, motivations, consequences; http://eicker.at/Blogosphere2011

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:06 on 18. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Technorati: “Welcome to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 report. Since 2004, our annual study has followed growth and trends in the blogosphere. This year’s topics include: blogging and social media, bloggers and traditional media, traffic and analysis, brands and marketing in the blogosphere, bloggers’ motivations and consequences, monetization, and changes within the blogosphere over 2011. … The Blogosphere is constantly changing and evolving. In 2011 we are seeing bloggers updating their blogs more frequently and spending more time blogging. The type of information influencing blogging has shifted from conversations with friends, which was the primary influence in 2010, to other blogs, which for 68% of bloggers are having more of an influence in 2011. … Penn Schoen Berland conducted an Internet survey from September 13-October 4, 2011 among 4,114 bloggers around the world. The margin of error is +/- 1.4% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.

      Technorati: “Who are the Bloggers? – We started with a basic inquiry about the identity of the respondents. Roughly three fifths are male, a proportion that holds true over all blogger types. Not surprisingly, a majority of bloggers are in the 25-44 age range – but a third are over 44. … Although our survey was administered only in English, bloggers responded from 45 countries, with nearly half from the United States. … Income: While half of Corporates receive no annual salary for blogging, and the mean non-salary income of that blogger type was $17,101, 54% report an annual household income of $50,000 or more. This seems to indicate that the majority of Corporates are using any revenue from blogging as a supplement to their household income. … A quarter of respondents reported being self-employed, while just under half told us they were employed full-time… Overall, fewer bloggers reported this year that they are making a living via their blogs. (4% vs. 11% in 2010) … Combining these demos, we see a picture of Professional Full Timers as slightly older and likely to be in life circumstances (such as having another income due to marriage, or being currently a stay-at-home parent) that allow them time to pursue professional routes such as blogging. … Among those whose blog is a business, 81% manage the blog themselves. Corporate bloggers are most likely to have a paid full- or part-time staff (38%). … The majority of respondents update their blog two to three times per week. Professional Full Time bloggers tend to update their blog more frequently than any other bloggers, with 26% reporting that they update their blog at least three times per day. … Overall, there is a rise in the number of bloggers who say they are blogging more, and fewer bloggers report they are blogging less.

      Technorati: “Bloggers and the Traditional Media – We continue to see a very large overlap between bloggers and traditional media. Almost one third of bloggers have worked for the traditional media, with a monthly magazine being the most common form (41%). 55% of Professional Full Timers and half of all Corporate bloggers have worked for a monthly magazine in the past. Of those who have worked with traditional media, 24% are still employed and blog separately. … Nearly all (96%) bloggers have an independent blog. … 81% report that their blog is part of a non-media company.Brands and the BlogosphereThe blogosphere is influencing itself – respondents say that the number one influence on the topics they blog about are other blogs they read, a huge jump from 2010. Conversations with friends and social media accounts are also influencing blogging topics. … 38% of respondents say they blog about brands that they love or hate. 33% of Professional Part Timers post reviews at least once a week. … 65% of bloggers use social media to follow brands, and this holds fairly consistently across blogger types, indicating a common practice. Further, blogging on these brands is a common activity. … Bloggers are being actively courted. Nearly four out of 10 overall, 59% of Professional Part Timers, and 66% of Professional Full Timers have been approached to write about or review products. Pros are approached eight times per week on average. The most frequently approached Hobbyist, Professional Part Time, Professional Full Time, and Entrepreneur bloggers report being approached more than 200 times per week. … The majority of bloggers feel that bloggers are treated less professionally by brand representatives compared to traditional media. … Most (86%) – but not all – bloggers who participated in sponsored posts indicate that they disclosed that the post was sponsored or paid. … Among those working with brands, 45% are aware of the FTC ruling on disclosure. Professional Part Timers and Full Timers have higher awareness (56% and 64% respectively) of it. 59% said the ruling had not had any effect on their blogging activities.”

      Technorati: “Consumers in the Blogsphere – This is the second year we surveyed consumers on their trust of and attitudes toward the media they consume. Compared with other media, blogs continue to outpace other social media and many traditional media in terms of trust and generating consumer recommendations and purchases. Facebook remains somewhat influential, but less so than blogs, and Twitter has seen a drop in influence over the past year.”

      Technorati: “What’s in it for the Bloggers? Motivations and Consequences of Blogging – Among Professionals, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs, the leading metric of success is the number of unique visitors, while 42% of Professional Part Timers and 38% of Professional Full Timers cited revenue as the leading metric compared to 13% of respondents overall. 69% of Hobbyists say that personal satisfaction is a way they measure the success of their blog, compared to 57% of Professional Part Timers, 49% of Professional Full Timers, 40% of Corporate bloggers and 47% of Entrepreneur bloggers. … 70% of all bloggers use their blog to share their expertise and experience with others. Professionals also use their blog as a way to make money or supplement their income. Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers are looking to gain professional recognition, while also using their blog as a way to attract new clients to their business. … Asked what is the primary reason they blog, the greatest number of respondents overall said they use their blog as a way to share expertise and experience with others. … Overall, respondents seem to feel that blogging has had a positive impact on their personal life. 54% of respondents agree that they have made friends through their blog, and the same number agree that they have become more involved with their passion areas as a result of blogging. More than 60% of Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers have gained greater visibility in their industry through blogging.

      Technorati: “Bloggers and Social Media – 82% of bloggers surveyed are using Twitter, with almost all Professional Full Timers (93%) and Professional Part Timers (91%) using Twitter and having on average over 1,000 followers. Those who use Twitter say they do so to promote their blog (77%), follow friends (60%), and bring interesting links to light (59%). Professional, Corporate, and Entrepreneur bloggers use Twitter to promote themselves professionally. … Nearly half of bloggers who use Twitter link their blogs to it. Among respondents who do not use Twitter, the most common reason for not doing so is a lack of desire to broadcast one’s life (45%). Another 42% simply don’t have time. … Almost nine out of ten bloggers surveyed (89%) use Facebook. 50% of all bloggers have separate Facebook pages for their blog and for their personal account, a jump from only 34% last year. … Among Facebook users, the most common reason for using the social network is to promote one’s blog. 61% of Entrepreneur bloggers use Facebook to promote their business. … More than six out of ten respondents use Google+. Of those who use this service only 13% have a separate account for their blog and personal use. … Other than Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social networking platforms among respondents are LinkedIn and YouTube. Not surprisingly, respondents found Facebook and Twitter to be the most effective social networking tools to market their blogs and drive traffic. … Blogging Topics – Personal musings are most blogged about by Hobbyists, while Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers tend to blog about technology. Business is also a very popular topic for Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers. … 79% of all respondents describe their blogging style as ‘sincere,’ and 67% describe their style as ‘conversational.’ Professional, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs also describe their style as ‘expert.’

      Technorati: “Brands in the Blogosphere: What Do the Marketers Say? – We heard from marketers who are just getting started in social media, and veterans who are using every available tool. We also received detailed examples and case studies, which we’ll be profiling in upcoming articles. We also asked them about the most significant developments in social media in 2011 and their predictions for the coming year. – Overall, advice was centered along these main themes: Encourage and enable sharing across platforms. Bloggers are trusted peers. Work with them to create or curate unfiltered, credible content and reviews, in order to create a conversation around your brand. Focus on building long-term relationships. Use blogger outreach organically and encourage these social influencers to be honest and open about their opinions so that they don’t feel forced to give a ‘good’ review, but rather, their ‘own’ review. Use social media not only to distribute content but to build active communities and interact with and respond to your audiences. Layer on social media measurement tools to find where users fall into your conversion funnels. Leverage paid media on social channels. … What are your top three DOs for social media? Here is just a sampling of the advice we received: Be a personality, not just a brand. Be responsive and quick. Recognize and reward your fans. Push for organic conversation. Pull content streams into ad units. Provide value to your audience. … What are your top three DON’Ts for social media? The majority of the responses came in along these lines: Don’t use social media as a direct marketing channel. Don’t pay for likes. Don’t believe that social media is free. Time is money. Social media takes time and strategy. Don’t open up a two-way conversation if you aren’t fully aware of the likely conversation flow. Once you’ve opened up a dialog, be ready to turn negatives into positives, but DON’T censor a participant who has a negative opinion. Don’t expect that social media = mass exposure with no investment. … We asked: In the past year, what was the biggest change or the most significant development you saw in social media? The most popular answers centered around a few major trends: brand strategy, blogging, the evolution of specific social media channels, advancements in mobile devices, developments in analytics, and the problem of information overload.”

      Technorati: “Active Blogging – According to Technorati’s index, a minority of bloggers are posting daily, or even weekly. Further, the Technorati index skews to more active bloggers – presumably they have listed their blog with Technorati because they are actively creating content and want others to find it. Active blogging is clearly rewarded. When looking at average posts per month and per day by Technorati Authority, bloggers in the Top 100 generate 36 times more content than the average blogger. We also see a higher use of tags as part of their arsenal of strategies to bring audiences to their content, with 92% of the Top 100 bloggers using tags. … Blogging Technology – Most respondents’ blogs are individual blogs. Blogging Collectives are most common among Corporate bloggers, where they account for 35%. … WordPress is the most popular blog hosting service among all respondents, used by 51%. Blogger and Blogspot hosting services are also popular (21% and 14%). … Nearly 90% of bloggers are using some form of multimedia on their blogs, the most popular form being photos. Half of all bloggers surveyed use video on their blog, while another 10% use audio. … Of those using multimedia, slightly more create these assets themselves than repurpose them from other sites. … Particular blogging tools are very widespread among bloggers, especially built-in syndication (75%) and social sharing widgets (75%), as well as site search (58%). Among bloggers who use built-in syndication, the majority (76%) support full content. … Professional Full Timers have seen the most impact from the adoption of tablets and smartphones, with almost a third (32%) indicating their blogging style has changed. … Those impacted by tablets and smartphones indicate they are using photos and images (45%) more often and writing shorter posts (43%).”

      Technorati: “Traffic and Analytics – Bloggers continue to pay close attention to their readership: 65% use a third-party service to track their blog’s traffic. Across bloggers, Google Analytics is by far the most popular service. … Professional bloggers receive the most views, with over half of the blogs viewed more than 10,000 times per month. 58% of bloggers using third-party analytics receive fewer than 5,000 page views per month. … Professional bloggers receive the most unique visitors per month, with more than a third having over 10,000 unique visitors. … Monetization and Revenue – Of the 14% of bloggers who earn a salary for blogging, the average annual amount is $24,086. Corporate bloggers earn more, averaging $33,577 per year. … Most are not paid per post, but half of those who are earned less than $25 per post on average. … About half of all bloggers paid by the post earn less than $1,000 per year from per-post fees. – Display ads, affiliate marketing links, and search ads are the most common ways bloggers generate revenue from their blogs. 60% of Corporate bloggers said they do not have any advertising on their blog. … Most blog-related revenue is generated through giving speeches on blogging topics and advertising. … Among those who do not have advertising on their blogs, 52% say they do not have advertising because they don’t want their blogs to be cluttered with ads, while 38% said they don’t have enough visitors to make it worthwhile. Another 36% are not interested in making money on their blog. … Among those with advertising on their blog, 60% use self-serve tools, while 50% have affiliate advertising links on their site.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:33 on 14. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Analysis, , , , , , , , Diigo, , , , , , Google Analytics Social, Google Analytics Social Analytics, Google Analytics Social Data Hub, Google Analytics Social Reporting, , , , , LiveFyre, , , , , , , , ReadItLater, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Social Reporting, , , TypePad, Vkontakte, , , ,   

    Google Analytics Social Data Hub 

    Google opens its Social Data Hub to 3rd party social networks to integrate with Google Analytics; http://eicker.at/SocialData

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:34 on 14. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “Every day, millions of people share and engage with content online. But most sharing doesn’t happen on the site where it was published, it happens throughout the social web. Marketers and publishers are looking for a comprehensive view of all interactions with their content – on and off their site – and so we’re working hard to make this happen. – To enable our customers to discover who’s sharing, voting and bookmarking their content on the social web, cross-network measurement needs to become easier. So today we’re inviting social networks and platforms to integrate their activity streams with Google Analytics. Through these integrations, marketers and publishers will be able to discover off-site engagement, optimize their engagement within each social community, and measure the impact of each social channel and its associated digital investment. … To make integration easy for social networks and platforms we’ve created a social data hub – it’s based on widely deployed, open web standards such as ActivityStreams and PubsubHubbub. A number of partners are already working with us to improve measurement of social actions – including Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Gigya, LiveFyre, ReadItLater, Reddit, TypePad, Vkontakte, and of course, Google+, Blogger and Google Groups.”

      Google: “Plug your social data into Google Analytics – As the number of social networks and activities performed grows, there’s no comprehensive way for marketers and publishers to see the big picture of how social behavior really impacts their brand, let alone understand how these social actions lead to engagement or true return on investment [ROI] of their content. – That’s why we’ve developed the social data hub – so any network can integrate their activity streams – like +1, votes, and comments – into Google Analytics Social Analytics reports, which will be available next year.”

      Google: “The social data hub is a free platform that social networks and other social platforms can use to integrate their activity streams- like +1, votes, and comments-with Google Analytics. – Enable your social network to be visible to marketers, publishers and analysts using Google Analytics – Promote a broad, comprehensive and inclusive picture of the global social media landscapeAdvance accessible measurement of all social media platforms and activities … To integrate your social network with Analytics, you need to meet the following criteria: You operate a Social Network/Platform – You own the social data and/or are legally able to share it with Google.

      Google: “Google Analytics will provide a social reporting suite so marketers and publishers can see how their content is being shared or interacted with off their site. This will include visibility into social actions such as voting, commenting and sharing amongst other reports helping marketers tie social activity back to engagement and conversion. The social data hub will supply the data needed to enable these Google Analytics reports.

      WMG: “In other words, the platform vendors did little if anything to tie the output of their platforms with anything specific or practical enough (probably, because they couldn’t yet do so) to be meaningful. While Facebook may drag their feet implementing and interfacing with Social Data Hub, Twitter already has been using Google Analytics to track every important action, and it’s not a stretch to see Twitter adopting the Social Hub, and eventually, Facebook will have to, as well, because advertisers and publishers will demand it. – Which, as Lovett says, is good for all of us. Will it be good for the vendors? That all depends.

      SEW: “While social media integration into analytics packages is relatively new, there are a few enterprise-level analytics software that already offer users the ability to integrate not only social sharing sites, but also information about apps in their respective stores. Webtrends, for one, allows users to enter their usernames and passwords for various social sites and app stores directly into the software and data from those respective sites are seamlessly integrated into reports. … Is this a good idea or a bad idea for social networks? How would you use integrated social analytics in your day-to-day analytics reports?

      WPN: “I couldn’t help but notice that Facebook and Twitter are not on that list.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 15. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Analysis, , , , Fox News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Media and Twitter 

    Pew: How mainstream media outlets use Twitter. Who tweets when, how, and how often? http://eicker.at/MediaTwitter

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 15. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Pew – Content Analysis Shows an Evolving Relationship: “For nearly every news organization, Twitter has become a regular part of the daily news outreach. But there are questions about how those organizations actually use the technology: How often do they tweet? What kind of news do they distribute? To what extent is Twitter used as a new reporting tool or as a mechanism for gathering insights from followers? – To answer some of these questions, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs collaborated on a study of Twitter feeds from 13 major news organizations. … The research, which examined more than 3,600 tweets over the course of a week, reveals that these news organizations use Twitter in limited ways-primarily as an added means to disseminate their own material. … The news organizations were much more similar in the focus of their Twitter activity. The vast majority of the postings promoted the organizations’ own work and sent users back to their websites. … This is not to say that news organizations are not tapping into public sentiment on Twitter through other means. … Still, these findings reveal limited use of the institution’s public Twitter identity, one that generally takes less advantage of the interactive and reportorial nature of the Twitter.”

      Pew – Who Tweets When and How Often: “One way they differed was in the overall number of separate organizational Twitter feeds or channels offered. On average, the outlets studied offered 41 organizational Twitter feeds, ranging from the general-such as politics-to the narrow-such as Civil War or cycling. The Washington Post offered the largest number of separate feeds, at 98. The Daily Caller, a conservative web-only news operation led by former cable personality Tucker Carlson, offered the fewest, a single feed. – Major national newspapers tend to offer the most: As a group the four papers studied average 74. The three cable news channels average 45. The rest of the outlets studied-broadcast television, audio, online-only and local newspapers-average 18 Twitter feeds per outlet. … Across the news organizations studied, the number of followers varied dramatically, though that number was not necessarily tied directly to the outlet’s audience size in other platforms (i.e. television ratings or print circulation). CNN had more than twice the number of followers for its main news feed as Fox News did, yet Fox programs have higher ratings on television. The New York Times, which led among national newspapers in number of followers on Twitter, falls behind The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in print circulation.”

      Pew – The News Agenda on Twitter vs. Traditional Platforms: “The news agendas of the mainstream media and that of their analog presence on Twitter were strikingly similar during the week in which both were studied. … Even with a similar emphasis on top stories, one difference in the way news functions in the legacy platforms versus on Twitter is priority. While the total number of posts on Twitter may be more about one subject than another, there is no structural hierarchy to posts. No one post is given higher priority, or ‘front-page status,’ other than in how much they are shared. In 140 characters, everything is fairly equal.

      Pew – Sharing and Gathering Information: “In general, the major news organizations studied used Twitter to direct audiences to web content that the news organization had produced and posted online. But by and large, news outlets were not using Twitter in more interactive ways, or as a reporting tool. … Just 2% of the tweets examined from the main organizational Twitter feeds asked followers for information-either to help inform a story or to provide feedback. Even the most active outlets rarely or never solicited information from their followers. Less than 1% of the tweets from The New York Times, 3% from The Washington Post and 3% from The Huffington Post (one of two online-only news outlets studied) solicited information. … One notable exception to this was Fox News. Although the main Fox News feed had light activity on Twitter, fully one-fifth of its limited tweets (10 of the 48 tweets in the period examined) directly solicited information from followers. … Mainstream news organizations primarily use Twitter to move information and push content to readers. For these organizations, Twitter functions as an RSS feed or headline service for news consumers, with links ideally driving traffic to the organization’s website. Ninety-three percent (93%) of tweets on mainstream Twitter feeds contained a link that drove traffic back to its home site.”

      Pew – Little Use of Retweet Function: “Researchers found that retweeting is rare, and retweets do not often originate outside the news organization. Only 9% of the tweets examined were retweets. Of these, 90% originally appeared on another Twitter feed connected to the same news organization such as a section feed, reporter’s feed or, in the case of television networks, another show on the network. In all, only 1% of tweets studied originated from an entity outside the news organization. … Taken together, the retweet data and the findings with respect to the use of Twitter to solicit information suggest that mainstream news outlets are not generally using Twitter to expand the conversation or include alternative perspectives and voices.”

      Pew – Use of Hashtags: “There is also wide variation in the use of hashtags by the news organizations studied. … The Washington Post, one of the most active news organizations studied on Twitter, regularly used hashtags (21% of tweets studied included at least one hashtag) to categorize tweets. Fox News and the two local newspapers, The Toledo Blade and The Arizona Republic, used hashtags even more.”

      Pew – Individual Reporters‘ Use of Twitter: “If the organizational Twitter feed is mainly a way of disseminating their content, might individual journalists exploit the social nature of the tool more-using it to gather information and build connections with their readers? … As with news organizations, individual journalists use Twitter in widely divergent ways. … When these journalists did tweet, very little of that material was information-gathering in nature. Eight of the 13 reporters examined never asked followers to help provide information. On average, only 3% of individual reporters’ tweets did so. … Individual reporters did not retweet other content often during the week studied. The average portion of tweets that were retweets was 11%. … Overall, the findings suggest that when one moves away from the most popular Twitter personalities, usage becomes less personal, but also more interactive. … The practice of retweeting also indicated the levels to which health reporters studied were more interactive-on average, 22% of their tweets were retweets, compared with just 11% among the top-followed journalists.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Analysis, , , , , , , , , Business Practices, , , , , , , , Debiasing, , Economic Incentives, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Replication, , , , Search Bias, Search Engine Bias, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Search Engine Bias 

    Does Google favour its own sites in search results? New study: Google less biased than Bing; http://eicker.at/SearchEngineBias

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Does Google favor its own sites in search results, as many critics have claimed? Not necessarily. New research suggests that claims that Google is ‘biased’ are overblown, and that Google’s primary competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, may actually be serving Microsoft-related results ‘far more’ often than Google links to its own services in search results. – In an analysis of a large, random sample of search queries, the study from Josh Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, found that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently, and far more prominently, than Google favors its own content. According to the findings, Google references its own content in its first results position in just 6.7% of queries, while Bing provides search result links to Microsoft content more than twice as often (14.3%). … The findings of the new study are in stark contrast with a study on search engine ‘bias’ released earlier this year. That study, conducted by Harvard professor Ben Edelman concluded that ‘by comparing results across multiple search engines, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.’ … So, what conclusions to draw? Wright says that ‘analysis finds that own-content bias is a relatively infrequent phenomenon’ – meaning that although Microsoft appears to favor its own sites more often than Google, it’s not really a major issue, at least in terms of ‘bias’ or ‘fairness’ of search results that the engines present. Reasonable conclusion: Google [and Bing, though less so] really are trying to deliver the best results possible, regardless of whether they come from their own services [local search, product search, etc] or not. … But just because a company has grown into a dominant position doesn’t mean they’re doing wrong, or that governments should intervene and force changes that may or may not be “beneficial” to users or customers.

      Edelman/Lockwood: “By comparing results between leading search engines, we identify patterns in their algorithmic search listings. We find that each search engine favors its own services in that each search engine links to its own services more often than other search engines do so. But some search engines promote their own services significantly more than others. We examine patterns in these differences, and we flag keywords where the problem is particularly widespread. Even excluding ‘rich results’ (whereby search engines feature their own images, videos, maps, etc.), we find that Google’s algorithmic search results link to Google’s own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to Google’s services. For selected keywords, biased results advance search engines’ interests at users’ expense: We demonstrate that lower-ranked listings for other sites sometimes manage to obtain more clicks than Google and Yahoo’s own-site listings, even when Google and Yahoo put their own links first. … Google typically claims that its results are ‘algorithmically-generated’, ‘objective’, and ‘never manipulated.’ Google asks the public to believe that algorithms rule, and that no bias results from its partnerships, growth aspirations, or related services. We are skeptical. For one, the economic incentives for bias are overpowering: Search engines can use biased results to expand into new sectors, to grant instant free traffic to their own new services, and to block competitors and would-be competitors. The incentive for bias is all the stronger because the lack of obvious benchmarks makes most bias would be difficult to uncover. That said, by comparing results across multiple search engine, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.”

      ICLE: “A new report released [PDF] by the International Center for Law und Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman und Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman und Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm – or call for antitrust action – arising from Google’s practices.Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing: In the replication of Edelman und Lockwood, Google refers to its own content in its first page of results when its rivals do not for only 7.9% of the queries, whereas Bing does so nearly twice as often (13.2%). – Again using Edelman und Lockwood’s own data, neither Bing nor Google demonstrates much bias when considering Microsoft or Google content, respectively, referred to on the first page of search results. – In our more robust analysis of a large, random sample of search queries we find that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently-and far more prominently-than Google favors its own content. – Google references own content in its first results position when no other engine does in just 6.7% of queries; Bing does so over twice as often (14.3%). – The results suggest that this so-called bias is an efficient business practice, as economists have long understood, and consistent with competition rather than the foreclosure of competition. One necessary condition of the anticompetitive theories of own-content bias raised by Google’s rivals is that the bias must be sufficient in magnitude to exclude rival search engines from achieving efficient scale. A corollary of this condition is that the bias must actually be directed toward Google’s rivals. That Google displays less own-content bias than its closest rival, and that such bias is nonetheless relatively infrequent, demonstrates that this condition is not met, suggesting that intervention aimed at ‘debiasing’ would likely harm, rather than help, consumers.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:38 on 3. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Analysis, , Encrypted Search, , , , , , , , , Keyword (Not Provided), , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Keyword (Not Provided) 

    Google SSL leads to not provided keywords for search traffic: more than 10% already; http://eicker.at/KeywordNotProvided

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 3. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Google’s new encrypted search for logged in users now appears to be blocking a much higher percentage of search terms than when it initially rolled out two weeks ago. In some cases, it might even be higher than the 10% or less figure that the company initially predicted might be impacted. … Google predicted that the change would impact 10% or less of searches… However, as of October 31, we have seen a very significant increase on the Not Provided figure here on Search Engine Land. It’s not just us, either. Looking at data from several websites across industries, we see a range of 7% to 14% of total organic keywords now being blocked.The figure is even more dramatic, however, when you consider it as a percentage of Google-driven keywords. In other words, the 12.87% figure above means that for ALL keywords from ANY search engine to Search Engine Land, 12.87% of them were blocked. … The rollout was supposed to take place over the course of several weeks. The process is still happening, and it seems as if it was suddenly enabled for more users on October 31.

      LM: “It’s not just Google Analytics that will be denied this data. By ‘enhancing’ their default user experience for signed in users, Google will be redirecting signed in users to https://www.google.com, thus encrypting the search results page. In analytics, you’ll still be able to see that these signed in users came from the organic search results, but instead of being able to see the actual keywords that they used, you’ll see all that data aggregated under (Not Provided.) … So far [October 20th], since this change launched, LunaMetrics has seen 1% of our keywords clumped into (Not Provided.) A client with substantially larger organic search volume has already seen almost 2% of their organic keywords represented as Not Provided. We shall see how far-reaching these changes actually are in a few weeks when they’re rolled out completely.

      Naylor: “The online SEO community was up in arms after Google announced that signed-in users would get the encrypted search results as standard on google.com, meaning that all the referring keyword data would be lost in any analytic package. – Short term, this is unlikely to cause a too much of an upset and most people are saying they are only seeing 2-3% of all searches coming through with the (not provided) keywords.

      Mark8t: “As the change gets rolled out worldwide, you will start to see an increasing number of ‘Keyword Not Provided’, so you will need to become more creative. I would strongly recommend if you have not already to get a Google Webmaster Account, as Google notes: You ‘can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic’. … In my view, although it may take more time, if you focus on content data, trends with keywords [as opposed to exact data] and other tools available, the impact will be somewhat lessened. The reality is, there is no point in crying over split milk, it’s done. Now it’s time to come up with creative solutions to keep moving forward.

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 11. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      LM: “Google SSL Search: Update on (not provided) keywords – Matt Cutts’ estimation that SSL search would only affect single-digit percentages of searchers is still holding true (in aggregate). But as you can see from the numbers above, the number of signed-in Google users that reach your site will vary greatly depending on your industry. The silver lining in this is at least we’re able to easily measure the effects of SSL search using Google Analytics and a couple of advanced segments.

  • Gerrit Eicker 10:28 on 22. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Analysis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Mobile Media, Mobiler, , , , , , , , , , , , , Social Media Mobile, , Social Networking Mobile, , , , , , , , ,   

    Social Media Mobile 

    Social networking on-the-go: U.S. mobile social media audience grows 37% in the past year; http://eicker.at/SocialMediaMobile

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 10:28 on 22. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      ComScore: “[R]eleased results of a study on mobile social media usage based on data from its comScore MobiLens service, which showed that 72.2 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011, an increase of 37 percent in the past year. The study also provided new insights into how mobile users interact with social media, finding that more than half read a post from an organization, brand or event while on their mobile device. – ‘Social media is one of the most popular and fastest growing mobile activities, reaching nearly one third of all U.S. mobile users,’ said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president for mobile. ‘This behavior is even more prevalent among smartphone owners with three in five accessing social media each month, highlighting the importance of apps and the enhanced functionality of smartphones to social media usage on mobile devices.‘ … In August 2011, more than 72.2 million people accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device, an increase of 37 percent from the previous year. Nearly 40 million U.S. mobile users, more than half of the mobile social media audience, access these sites almost every day, demonstrating the importance of this activity to people’s daily routines. … 70 Percent of Mobile Social Networkers Posted a Status Update While on Their Mobile Device

      RWW: “While the mobile browser accounted for more visits, research shows that the social networking app audience has grown five times faster in the past year. While the mobile browsing social networking audience has grown 24% to 42.3 million users, the mobile social networking app audience shot up 126% to 42.3 million users in the past year. … People are increasingly checking social networks more from their mobile devices. More than half (52.9%) read posts from organizations/brands/events. One of three mobile social networkers snagged a coupon/offer/deal, and twenty-seven percent clicked on an ad while visiting a social networking site.”

      SEL: “In the US roughly 40 million mobile users access social networks (broadly defined to include blogs) on their handsets on a daily basis, according to comScore. The large number of mobile-social users comes as no surprise. Facebook previously announced it had 350 million active mobile users globally. – Google also sees mobile as a strategic front for social networking growth. The new version of Android (‘Ice Cream Sandwich’) prominently features Google+.”

      AF: “The consultancy found that 70 percent of those using Facebook on mobile devices – including smartphones and tablets – posted a status update from the gizmo on the go. – Facebook earlier this year disclosed that total mobile users worldwide exceeds 350 million. The U.S. portion of this at the end of August surpassed 57.3 million, according to comScore MobiLens.”

      ZDNet: “So far, there’s already some solid footing for mobile advertisers to get involved here. Mobile users accessing social networks were found to be more likely to interact with brands on those sites than not, and 52.9 percent said they read posts from organizations/brands/events. Additionally, one in three in this group said they received some kind of coupon/offer/deal, with one in four clicking on an ad while conducting mobile social networking.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:05 on 20. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Analysis, , , , , , , , , Funnels, Goal Flow, , , Google Analytics Flow Visualization, , , , , , , , , Mobile Reports, Multi-channel Funnels, , Non-linear, , , Path Analysis, Plot Rows, , , , Site Speed, Site Speed Report, , , , , , , , Traffic Visualisation, , , , , , , , Visitors Flow, , , , ,   

    Google Analytics: Flow Visualization 

    Google introduces Flow Visualization for Google Analytics: visitors flow and goal flow; http://eicker.at/GAFlowVisualization

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:06 on 20. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “[A]t Web 2.0 Summit [we] unveiled the release of ‘Flow Visualization’ in Google Analytics, a tool that allows you to analyze site insights graphically, and instantly understand how visitors flow across pages on your site. Starting this week, ‘Visitors Flow’ and ‘Goal Flow’ will be rolling out to all accounts. Other types of visualizers will be coming to Google Analytics in the coming few months, but in the meantime, here’s what you can expect from this initial release. … The Visitors Flow view provides a graphical representation of visitors’ flow through the site by traffic source (or any other dimensions) so you can see their journey, as well as where they dropped off. … Goal Flow provides a graphical representation for how visitors flow through your goal steps and where they dropped off. Because the goal steps are defined by the site owner, they should reflect the important steps and page groups of interest to the site. In this first iteration, we’re supporting only URL goals, but we’ll soon be adding events and possibly other goal types. … These two views are our first step in tackling flow visualization for visitors through a site, and we look forward to hearing your feedback as all users begin experiencing it in the coming weeks. We’re excited to bring useful and beautiful tools like these to help you understand your site, so stayed tuned for more!

      SEL: “Path analysis has historically been a feature that provided little insights on user behavior, mainly because visitors behave in such non linear ways that it is hard to learn something from their paths, even when looking at aggregated data. The best option to path analysis has been to analyze micro conversions, i.e. looking at each page and trying to learn if the page has fulfilled its objective. However, the visualizations below bring some interesting approaches that will be very helpful for web analysts. … As some might recognize, the visualization used on this feature is very similar to the one created by Charles J. Mainard shown below. This image, created in a 1869 to describe Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image…”

      LM: “I need Red Bull. Seriously, I can’t keep up with all the new features and announcement coming from Google Analytics lately. In the last few months, they’ve released a new interface, real-time data, multi-channel funnels, Google Analytics Premium, Google Webmaster Tools integration, plot rows, site speed report, new mobile reports, social media tracking, and now Flow Visualization. You can read their official announcement, but ours is much more informative [and we have video!]. … Navigation Flow: provides a graphical representation of your start/end nodes, and the paths to or from your site that your visitors follow. When you create a navigation flow, you have the option to identify a single page by URL, or to create a node that represents a group of pages whose URLs match a condition, for example, all pages whose URL contains a particular product identifier like shirts or jackets. … Sometimes, things are best explained with video. This is one of those times, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this brief tour through this new feature.

  • Gerrit Eicker 06:38 on 15. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Analysis, , , , , , Cross-channel, , , , , , , , ,   

    Display Drives Search 

    SEL: How search conversions are driven by display impression frequency; http://eicker.at/DisplayDrivesSearch

     
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