Google Plus Engagement Leaves Big Data Experts Nonplussed

Today’s selection …

Is this piece in Adweek about Gigya’s insights regarding Google+ and the fact that, although it is said to be the second biggest social network in terms of users, engagement on Google’s social platform is still low and even at its lowest. I have been very critical of Google’s efforts to mimic Facebook over the years and even though some of these efforts haven’t paid off I, as an amateur photographer, am beginning to witness changes in engagement in G+ as I am shoving more and more of my pictures into “communities”. And bingo! it works. It’s true that engagement is low in profile pages and posts, but communities, and mostly photographers’ communities like “landscape photography” or “street photographers” is now clinching it. It has taken its time but maybe Google+ has found its niche… Yet, those guys from Gigya are less than extactic:

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depending on what pictures I choose, I can get up to 30 or more +’s and a few shares on individual photos; not bad for an individual I’d say and better than most platforms (including Facebook)

Google Plus Shares Least Among Social Networks | Adweek

It’s the second most popular social network by some measures, but when it comes to sharing, Google+ has the least reach compared to its rivals, according to the latest data from the social media tech firm Gigya.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all incite more sharing on their networks than Google+, per Gigya, which claims to measure how 1.5 billion Web users share content each month.

In fact, Gigya manages the sharing functionality for more than 700 partners online. According to its data, just 3 percent of all social sharing went to Google+ from July to September.

By comparison, 41 percent of users shared content on Facebook; 20 percent shared on Twitter; 20 percent posted to Pinterest; and 4 percent to LinkedIn. Google+ counts more users than all of these platforms except Facebook because any user of Google services has a corresponding Plus account.

via Google Plus Shares Least Among Social Networks | Adweek.

Corporate Blogging is Dead, Long live Content Marketing! – 2013 survey results

book-new-largeI am not certain that Google will maintain Google alerts for very much longer. It seems, to put it in Forbes’s words, that it is broken. There is another cool innovation from the olden times which is still working though, I mean Google web trends. I still find it very interesting to see how things evolved through the use, or disuse, of certain keywords in the Google search engine. Lately, I went back to Google in order to check what was happening to corporate blogs. The only thing I was able to find out, was a 2005 report on corporate blogging. Does that mean that corporate blogging is over? Not at all! It is now part of a much broader subject, named content marketing. In essence, content marketing is bit different from just corporate blogging and it is a much better term. The replies of the interest for content marketing over the past few months is showing that something is happening in the web world again. Maybe it is a sign that companies are now more interested in what they get from the content which they produce rather than just spend time producing it. Let us review the 2013 content marketing survey report which gives us some interesting insight into the use of content marketing in 2013 (courtesy http://www.imninc.com/).

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Interest for corporate blogs has clearly shifted from blogs to content

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Key Survey Findings by IMN

  • Content marketing was a medium or high priority for 90%
    of respondents …”  however, one may point out  that comparisons with the 2012 survey my IMN (the first in the series) is showing that the realisation that content marketing is important is fairly recent, even in the US,
  • “31% of respondents have had a content strategy in place for more than a
    year, with 18% stating they put one in place within the last year and 33%
    working on implementing a strategy” … as stated above, all these content marketing programs are still fairly recent and there is still room for improvement,
  • “67% of respondents use a newsletter to distribute content to their
    customers and prospects” …  this is namely true with regard to newsletters for which a great number of users are sending  them once a year therefore showing little or no understanding of how the medium is used,
  • “78% of respondents curate content; 48% having run into permissions /
    attribution issues during the process” … But 15% of respondents are worried that they could use copyrighted content on their own resources,
  • 44% of respondents cited lead generation as the most important goal of
    content marketing programs; an increase from 16% last year.

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Awareness is widespread now. Content marketers are no longer regarded as zombies… well… I have a few recent counter examples but they are not American.

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Increasing leads is clearly what makes corporations tick. Yet, my personal experience in that area shows that few are able to go beyond buzz words and stick to their guns. Lead generation is a difficult trade, it requires a lot of fine tuning, and stamina. A trial and error mentality must be adopted; typically something that large companies have trouble coping with … long term thinking!

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Blogs are still here in that picture but they are not alone and part of an ecosystem. This makes perfect sense. An overarching strategy for marketing content must be adopted vs. piecemeal technical approaches which lead nowhere. Yet, if your blog is lousy, you are bound to go nowhere at all. The fundamentals must be remembered.

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Success is shifting away from readership to leads. Well… in the States maybe, in Europe, we still have a long way to go!

Download the 2005 blogger survey

5 Marketing Websites you shouldn’t miss

Today’s specials are …

1. The agile designers website:a great place for Web designers, developers and anyone interested in finding design stuff for one’s website. The site boasts 1302 resources but I haven’t checked the number.

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2. Ads of the World and this amazingly beautiful and arty “heaven and hell” Samsonite Ad

Samsonite: Heaven and Hell

 

3. Pure genius: this LinkedIn Resume builder which, obviously, picks up information from your LinkedIn profile and builds an automatic resume effortlessly!

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4. Lifehacker which delivers plenty of tips and tricks for tech users like this great selection of the best iPad covers!

Five Best iPad Cases

5. Lastly, Kissmetrics delivers great tips for you to use Twitter in order to spy on your competitors. Now you know why the company was valued at that level!

Ballmer “everywhere I go I see paper and pencils; there is still room for innovation” #ebg

briefcase-largeI attended an EBG (Electronic Business Group, an influential French e-business Think-Tank) conference on Nov 8 in Paris, at which Steve Ballmer was speaking. It has taken a while to process my notes but here they are at last, sometimes answering my questions about the future of Microsoft, sometimes not. However, undoubtedly, Ballmer has managed to captivate the massive audience in the small theatre room of the Espace Pierre Cardin at the Heart of Paris, France. Ballmer was interviewed by EBG’s founder and Secretary General, Pierre Reboul. Steve Ballmer is also a member of the board of directors of EBG.

There has been a great deal of questions asked about the future of Microsoft lately, with regard to their apparent inability to cope with the mobile market (even by Gates’s own admission). However, it would be wrong to think that Microsoft has lost the War even though it may have lost a few battles. As a matter of fact, the software giant from Redmond, Wash. is still very strong in many areas, including Business Cloud, enterprise collaboration (more than 70% market share with SharePoint, not to mention yammer), home gaming with the very successful Xbox platform, and of course, Microsoft office which is, like it or not, still broadly used, despite a flurry of free more or less open source office suites which are available from the Internet. Yet, Microsoft’s business models are challenged, office is slowly turning into a pay per use model with Office 365 and Windows 8 is just about coming back to life after a much awaited 8.1 facelift a couple weeks ago. So where is Microsoft headed? That is the question. Let us see what Steve Ballmer, the current CEO who is soon to retire, has to say about this, even though he has  managed to evade quite a few questions…

Right after the introduction , Steve Ballmer answered a question about the newly released surface 2 tablet. “Surface 2, is the evidence that Microsoft is moving from regular PCs to becoming a device company” Steve Ballmer explained, therefore confirming the impression is that many analysts had had, after the announcement of the purchase of Nokia, or rather as part of Nokia as Mr Ballmer explained a few moments later.

Does that mean that Microsoft is going to stop working with OEMs? “I would say something different” Ballmer said. “We continue to work with OEMs, but we will produce more devices”. Microsoft is definitely choosing a different path from Apple, its model seems to be far more akin to Google’s, even though its business model is a lot different.

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Ballmer with EBG’s Reboul on stage in Paris

“Everywhere I go I see paper and pencil there is still room for innovation”

Reboul said that Microsoft’s surface 2 was a good device yet, he wondered, “how do you make this a bestseller?”

“You want a different value proposition” Ballmer explained. “This device is meant to make you more productive; it is better than just watching movies.” Besides, a “continued stream of innovation is required too. Every meeting I go to, we still come across paper and pencil” Ballmer pointe out. We see a lot of opportunity for more innovation”. I couldn’t agree more with that. 10 years ago, I used to take notes using handwriting recognition off my iPAQ mini tablet. Now this is something which is no longer available, and I am still longing to find a good technology which can free me of paper and pencil and let me take notes naturally in a handwritten manner together with intelligent character recognition (ICR). After all, it used to be possible 10 years ago it should be now too!

Back to Windows 8: it was launched with a bad buzz, now a new has version just been released. What do you think?

As to sales, we have sold over 100 million units in a year : that’s pretty good!” Ballmer said. “Sales have been pretty good, but regarding consumer PCs there has been an impact with low end devices and we are working on this with new devices” he added. Sales have been better that the feedback in essence. “Regarding feedback, it has been more average” Steve Ballmer said. “Some like it, some not. There is a lot of diverging feedback. But what we did with was pretty bold. We’ll continue to move forward. Still, with enterprise customers, windows 7 is still most popular”.

What is the border between mobile and desktop? was Reboul’s next question

“There are no rigid borders” Ballmer said. “Phablets [a cross between tablets and phones] exist. People are moving from one device to another. We even make an 80 inch table you can hang on walls. There are no firm lines between devices.” he said.

photo by idownloadblog via the Verge > read on at http://bit.ly/ms80inchtab

What changes in Microsoft’s business model

What of Microsoft’s legacy licence-based business model? Is Microsoft forced to move to the SaaS model. How will they make money out of this? “The future of software is to be delivered as a service” Ballmer confirmed, “be it for b2bor b2c. Office 365 is already the number one SaaS application in the world” he added. But is Microsoft making as much money from this as it used to? “Services are small in revenue but they are growing rapidly and we are hoping for increased in the numbers of seats? Our revenue stream is still dominated by software licences, but things will change in the future” Steve Ballmer added. “For business customers, the best value is to go for online services” he added. “Also for consumers but some customers like to buy software licences once and for all and be done with it!” as the recent hoo-hah about the all SaaS version of Adobe Creative Cloud demonstrated (sample here).  Here I’m not really convinced on how all those revenue numbers will add up, but time will tell.

Nokia : what did you buy exactly?

Another question I had was about what Microsoft had actually bought from Nokia and what they intended to do with it: “Nokia has a lot of pieces” Ballmer said. “We didn’t buy maps, nor base stations for networks, we bought the phone business and the tablet business”. This also means that Microsoft now has two tablets! Surface and Nokia’s. Ballmer dismissed that issue altogether: “eventually, we’ll have two tablets (the deal is not yet approved), this is not a problem” he added. Time will tell again if having two aspiring products is enough to compete with 2 established leaders like Apple and Samsung. Surface 2 seems to be a nice product though, the concept is cool, and I’d really like to have a tablet which lets me work on my blog posts from cradle to grave … that is as long as both the apps and the hardware are up to scratch. I haven’t yet switched back to windows for mobiles but who knows, never say never…

Social strategy for Microsoft

Social is an area in which Microsoft has been either very successful (B2B) or very unsuccessful (B2C, despite the fact that it used to have a leg up in that game with MSN a long time before Facebook). “We are a player in certain parts for social networking” Ballmer confirmed. “We have a very successful offer with Yammer, and Skype, we are part of the social fabric” he added. Ballmer stressed that even Internet giant Google is struggling in that space. “Google has tried a bit but struggles against Facebook” alluding to Google+ even though it is now picking up a lot, mostly through the authorship and communities features, and I would not be surprised if things changed in the long run, in favour of Google. “Yammer has a free model. Once the IT department wants to add control then they go for the pay version” he said. It should be remembered that both Yammer and Skype are acquisitions.

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Gaming

Gaming is one of the very successful spaces for Microsoft: “Xbox is one of the most exciting experiences” Ballmer said. “The emerging model is freemium gaming but there will still be a model for hit games where production costs are huge. Both of those models are promising for the future, but they are for different kinds of games. Casual gaming will focus on freemium” Balllmer said. “The new Kinect sensor is phenomenal. It can even spot a finger moving” Ballmer said. “It will be used for games in which gamers shoots bows and arrows for instance” but there may be future applications for businesses as well. “The future will be the projection of the user IN the game” or even a show he added.  Imagine being able to kick a penalty kick in lieu of the player in the field? As more innovative features like these will be added, there will be a new space for costly games, but also “ a lot of the freemium models will start casual and grow serious”, even though “Microsoft’s games are for serious fun” Ballmer added.

Microsoft, innovation and its future (unnamed) CEO

Microsoft is a big company and it will be even bigger after Nokia’s acquisition has been ratified. “Ther are 100,000 employees at Microsoft before Nokia, there will be 130,000 after” Microsoft’s boss said. “There’s room for innovation at Microsoft. At R&D and also from the bottom up. Good Innovation is a good mixture of bottom up and top-down. Good success doesn’t come all from the bottom”. Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1990 and is planning to leave soon. “I love Microsoft” he said “but I have made my decision.  I want to have an active life outside of Microsoft. We are pivoting on devices and services, and it’s a good time to make the transition now. When we have a new leader we’ll have a new leader. I don’t know his name and I wouldn’t disclose it.” There has been rumours that Microsoft’s new boss would be Nokia’s Steven Elop but Ballmer didn’t comment on that.

Ballmer’s plan isn’t to retire though: “I wouldn’t retire and fish, I would scare the fish. I want to study, travel, look after the local basketball team, be part of boards of directors… I’ve got many things I’d like to study before I retire” he concluded.

“Social Media is evolving into Social Mass Media” – Hootsuite video

eye-large_thumb.gifA few days ago, I received an e-mail message from Canadian ISV Hootsuite telling me that my video was  online. Then I was swamped with a flurry of tweets and mentions about some of the insights I had delivered in that video. I am very grateful to Hootsuite for shooting such a beautiful testimonial and giving me an opportunity to share my views on social media and how it is evolving. We (Herve Kabla, our publisher and I) are currently working hard on the adaptation of our latest  “Managing Digital Marketing Like A Boss” opus which should be made available for Christmas, if all goes well. Many thanks to Sam Milbraith for writing up such a great story. I have always loved Hootsuite, I think it’s a great product and  I am a great supporter of theirs. Keep up the good work guys!

  Social Insights from European Thought Leader, Yann Gourvennec – HootSuite Social Media Management

Meet Yann Gourvennec.

He is a Paris-based European expert on social business and the rise of the social enterprise. With over 25 years of international experience in marketing, sales and information systems, he has been perfecting and sharing his wealth of insight on the transformations taking place in the industry since the advent of the internet. At Orange telecommunications corporation, Yann managed the Orange.com corporate website and microsites and built their digital media strategy and social media presence worldwide – from the ground up. He has been a member of socialmedia.org since 2008 and co-founded Media Aces, the French Association for enterprises and social media.

INPI-couverture_V3_com_digiAs a “serial intrapreneur,” Yann challenges the status quo of businesses from the inside out. “You find intrapreneurs in large firms or complex organisations where they bring innovation through their change management skills,” says Yann Gourvennec. “To me, being an intrapreneur means a great deal in terms of philosophy, the way I see things, the way I work with colleagues and the way that I drive projects forward and implement innovation from within a business.”

“Managing Digital Marketing Like a Boss”

Yann Gourvennec’s first book “Social Media Taught To My Boss,” became the most influential digital book of 2012 in France. Since then, he and his colleague Hervé Kabla have released its sequel in French in Paris, broadening the scope to tackle digital marketing at large – not just social media (hence the working title, “Managing Digital Marketing Like a Boss”).

“To Hervé Kabla and I, social media is now part of the digital communications mix,” says Yann. “It’s no longer about whether or not to be present on social media. We’ve moved beyond that, with regard to how you make sense of it all, hone your objectives, polish your strategies, develop your presence and structure your governance. The issue of return on investment is no longer an option either. Social media is part of the mix, a broader issue that has to be grasped by each and everyone in the company, not just by the digital team.”

“If there is one takeaway from our books, it is that we are going through a paradox: digital media is ubiquitous, everybody has to and wants to join in. It looks simple, but it isn’t. It is a proper discipline that requires skills and experience. After all, would you follow through with a surgery done by a surgeon reading “surgery for dummies?” So why would you want your organisation’s entire digital strategy owned by a 2-follower Twitter account owner? While there is an urgent need for the widespread inclusion of all employees to be present online, employing seasoned, skilled professionals in digital media and social media strategy is equally as important.”

via Social Insights from European Thought Leader, Yann Gourvennec – HootSuite Social Media Management.