The path to Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities

Big dataThe New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online MBA program sent me this infographic entitled “Data Mining and Decision Support Systems“, in which the university describes big data and data mining as the new way of carrying out market research. As a matter of fact, data mining isn’t new – I first heard about it in the 1990s when it started to become fashionable, namely in the Banking industry – and it is not directed at “new  data” but “existing data” as is described in the infographic.

If data mining (or even Big data for that matter) per se isn’t innovative, massive open databases, and unstructured data like those gathered by Facebook and Google actually are the new kids on the block. NJIT even heralds these new giants as the future major players of the data mining industry. To an extent they already are.

And true enough, data mining is bound to become, at last, a major player in the Marketing field for the years to come: when it comes to clients … and prospective customers alike (that’s the real novel aspect of it, we can now gather information about clients to be).

Challenges related to big data implementation

Yet, many challenges will have to be overcome by businesses which want to benefit from this new wave of market research brought by the big data era : improving data quality is one (this is why the retail industry is ahead of the game: check-out data is massive and squeakily clean), allowing time and resources is another, not to mention knowledge and training and, last but not least, internal limitations as to how data can be shared across departments. No wonder that 1% only (according to Information builders) of company information is used at the moment.

Now here’s the challenge, and only those who are able to overcome it will be able to reap the benefits from these new marketing opportunities.

Big data

NJIT New Jersey Institute of Technology – Online MBA

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.

“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.

Why Facebook will NOT be “Yahooed”

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This is my second contribution to the innovation generation blogs, an initiative sponsored by Alcatel. Here is my second piece entitled: Facebook, The Good, Bad and Ugly.

No one knows exactly where the social network is going, but it’s certainly going somewhere. Last September, I organised the San Francisco blogger bus tour on behalf of Orange, a unique experience, in which 14 bloggers from all over the world roamed the Valley in search of evidence that innovation wasn’t stifled by Facebook and other social media giants, as some wanted us to believe.

Yet, all along our visits, we heard claims that “Facebook was passé” and even that “Facebook would be ‘Yahooed’.” Four months later, the news that we are getting about social media is so contradictory that it is very hard to tell what’s going to happen. Yet, marketers from all over the world have invested massively in Facebook.

[photo : antimuseum.com]

The question is, will it prove useless, or will Facebook on the contrary, be the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy? And why does it matter for service providers?

The good

Facebook’s footprint is humongous and there are nos signs of “Facebook fatigue”. So many have moaned that after the one billionth user, things would start to deteriorate. Well, it didn’t happen. Socialbakers’ numbers aren’t showing evidence of that. Even though the recurring purges of fake users trigger falls in numbers, penetration rates can still go up (with less than 50 percent of the UK population, and less than 40 percent in France, there is room for improvement).

When Timeline was implemented in 2012, it was heavily criticized and doomsayers predicted users would leave the platform. They didn’t, they just got used to it, that’s all.

The bad

Facebook and Instagram have a track record for playing tricks with data privacy on the back of users. Yet, despite the recent rumors about users leaving Instagram for this reason, the news has been denied by Facebook itself. Instagram, according to Mark Zuckerberg’s firm, is even gaining users.

Zuckerberg himself admitted that privacy doesn’t matter anymore. A belief which isn’t shared by all and especially in German-speaking countries, where culturally speaking, data ownership is crucial. Max Schrems even founded a group entitled Europeans versus Facebook, which is filing legal action against Facebook.

Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, there is something wrong with the way the world’s largest social network is considering its users. So much so that might one rightfully wonder, like Dalton Caldwell, whether this is what social media was supposed to be, whereas it was meant to “change the world” to use one of Mr Zuckerberg’s famous quotes.

And the ugly

Very recently, LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar pointed out the lack of style in the company’s PR. This isn’t conducive to believing that marketing has changed forever like Tara Hunt had predicted.

Besides, a few months ago, Facebook decided to tweak its secret Edge Rank algorithm so that fewer users in your communities are exposed to your messages. This is no big deal for users, but for brands, it means that they are now offered to pay for “promoted posts” to reach more users. Wait a minute; what if your average TV network was offering your business advertising space and was asking for more money so that viewers are actually presented with your message? You would naturally be angry.

Yet, with Facebook, nothing has happened. Do advertisers have any other credible alternative to Facebook? As I heard one of my counterparts say at a recent advertisers’ meeting: “I know all this stuff about Google+, but Facebook is where all the users are!”

The future

What does the future hold? I’m not certain social media sells soap; what is true though is that there are a lot of similarities with the period that we are going through and the early 2000’s. Back then, everyone argued there wasn’t a business model for the Web. Yet, more than 10 years later, European e-commerce is delivering nearly as much revenue than Telecommunications companies.

Similarly, those who said there wasn’t a business model for online advertising are those who praise Google Adwords now. Multinationals spend up to several dozens of millions of euros on search engine marketing (SEM), including service providers. This is no small business.

Social media and Facebook, in particular, are no different from those early web trailblazers. The world, and service providers in particular, should stop sneering at those shaky business models. Internet business is a self-fulfilling prophecy; it has always been the case. This is high tech innovation for you, no one knows for sure where it’s going, but it certainly is going somewhere.

As a consequence, there are chances that we might have to put up with Facebook’s freaky way of handling privacy for a lot longer; that is to say as long as brands are ready to pay for advertising on Facebook and experiment on the popular social network.

The magic left the building with Jobs

This Is Not What Social Media Was Meant To Be

today’s selection is …

LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar’s piece is, despite its title, not just about Steve Jobs, it’s about the way that PR is done, and the fact that Social Media wasn’t meant to become what it is now. He describes a PR exercise by Zuckerberg and Facebook officials which lacks both the lustre and pizazz of Apple’s classic keynotes. I am not an Apple admirer I must admit, even though I own Apple products and acknowledge that they are beautiful products, but I’m not in synch with the philosophy behind Apple. Yet, Jobs’s keynotes were undoubtedly personal and performed with style. What is most annoying is indeed, as Sundar remarks, all those who try to mimic Jobs’s methods… not always with great success. As pointed out by Herman Mellville: “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.