Just for a minute think about all the digital fingerprints you leave behind on a daily basis. All the credit card transactions, mobile phone calls, Facebook check-ins, online searches, etc.

 


 

Lets take my day today:

  1. Surfed several websites gathering info for a presentation – My connectivity provider (Sprint) and Google added more info about me inside their already significant repositories

  2. Paid a few bills online – Credit card companies not only have my original transactions and buying habits but now they know my payment tendencies as well

  3. Downloaded a movie from iTunes for my trip – Apple adds this to the profile I have been populating for almost a decade

  4. Called my wife from my mobile phone to her car phone – Sprint and OnStar just got some more info about usage time and calling locations

  5. Printed boarding passes for a flight – Southwest knows where I have been, where I’m going and my general flight patterns.

  6. Drove to the airport – Sprint knows roughly the path I took from Home to the airport via my mobile phone switching between cell towers.

  7. Browsed email and some apps on my iPad – Apple and who knows what app developers just gathered access and some location data

  8. Landed in Los Angeles, El Paso & Dallas – Phone turned on at every stop and has tracked some level of information on my location and calls.

  9. Got into rented car and drove to meeting site – Hertz captures the location, type of car, duration etc. Plus Sprint knows roughly where I’m at too.

  10. Checked into room and had dinner – The hotel and credit card companies have that covered and logged.

  11. Browsed a few websites, email and writing an article – The hotel network and connectivity provider logged everyone of them, I promise.

There are probably others I have missed and can tease out but I think you get my point. Just about everything we do today leaves behind digital fingerprints. This trend is not slowing down either. Moore’s law applies here too.  

Implications of Big Data
The implications of so much personal data are profound and are changing how we live today and in the future.

Scientists, mathematicians and technologists have come together and are creating some of the most insightful, powerful and valuable solutions and knowledge we have ever known. This is all made possible because of innovation in computer processing and storage. We have more processing power today that enables us to crunch the vast amounts of data that give us meaningful and actionable insights.

To give you some perspective, think about all the data ever created from the dawn of time up to 2003. Seems like a lot. Well, we create that much data every two days right now. Also consider taking a look at this info graphic (http://tjc.cc/rUFBKx) about how we will generate enough data in 2015 to fill 18 Million Libraries of Congress. 18 million!

Consider the old adage “Birds of a feather flock together”. Credit card companies and lending institutions know this is true because they have been able to mash together demographic data based on your zip code, credit scores and most recently by who are your ‘friends’ in your online world.

The right companies are looking at the credit worthiness of your social connections and making more informed decisions on how likely you are to pay your bills. Telecommunication companies and satellite TV providers mine vast amounts of data to find the most influential customers, socially, and provide very targeted upgrades and specials deals designed to influence their networks.

Analysis of geo-location data in Flickr photos allows insight into traffic patterns within US cities and other locations. Cross reference this with information on where the photographer lives and you can start to map where tourists and locals travel in comparison and contrast to each other. Take a look at these images of various popular cities around the globe (http://tjc.cc/rDq8Nv).

Some amazing work is being done in the study of Big Data. A recent Popular Science article discusses how prediction models have become so accurate that they could predict, with 93% accuracy, the location of just about any individual within a square mile, based on cell phone usage. It didn’t matter if the individual frequently traveled or was a stay at home Mom.

Conclusion
With the explosion of social media, individuals are allowing brands to access all kinds of public and non-public digital fingerprints. This has allowed big data analysis to become more accessible and common place within all size marketing departments. Your organization needs to make the subtle shift into the world of collecting data from online signals, then distilling that information into knowledge that drives insight and then action.

The companies that can harness Big Data and extract precious insights will be the ones creating products and value for clients and consumers on a scale we have never seen before.

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There are several articles circulating about the new version of Insights that provide an overview for the new numbers. However, I have yet to see comprehensive details regarding what items compose the metrics.

If you are looking for more insight into each of the Insights stats and their meaning, please continue reading below.

There are 3 areas Facebook has made some significant introductions:


  1. People Talking About This – Facebook defines this as the number of stories created about your Page. That’s great and I grasped that from the overview but what actions produce stories? And within those stories, how does Facebook break them out? We conducted some testing to figure it out for you.
    • Like a Page = fan

    • Post on the Page wall = user post

    • Like a post = user post

    • Comment on a post = page post

    • Share a post = user post

    • Answer a question = question

    • RSVP to a Page’s event = we have reached out to Facebook for comment

    • Mention the Page in a post = mention

    • Tag the Page in a photo = mention

    • Check-in at a place = Check-in

    • Share a Check-in deal = we have reached out to Facebook for comment

    • Like a Check-in deal = we have reached out to Facebook for comment

    • Write a recommendation = we do not believe this is available but have reached out to Facebook to comment

  2. Link Clicks – The flip side of engagement and generating stories is clicking on links.
    1. Click on Page name = other

    2. Click on link in the “Status” portion of message = other

    3. Click on link in the “Link” portion of message = link

    4. Click on time stamp = other

    5. Click on app name = we have reached out to Facebook for comment

    6. Click on number of Likes = other

    7. Click on number of shares = we have reached out to Facebook for comment

    8. Clicking on externally hosted video = link

  3. Photo & Video Views – This has been around for a while but what most people don’t know is that it’s calculated based on the photos and videos hosted by Facebook only. If you have a video hosted by YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo and others, it will not be counted under video plays. Non-Facebook hosted videos will actually be counted as a ‘Link Click’ instead of a video play.

As you can see, there are slight nuances to some of these stats that may not apparent even after using them. I hope this gives you additional insight into how your activity is performing and exactly what it means.

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After attending f8 2011 in San Francisco, I am excited about the impending changes in Facebook and the News Feed is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is one change, however, that was overshadowed by the Timeline and Custom Open Graph announcements and that is the introduction of Graph Rank. Graph Rank will help determine how, when and where individuals see your content and actions. Since the conference, I have read a handful of articles that do not address the "why" of Graph Rank's existence, with one article stating that Graph Rank will replace EdgeRank. This could not be further from the truth. After talking to"Boz" (Andrew Bosworth, director of product) along with members of Facebook's development team, it became apparent that Graph Rank will be the more transparent side of EdgeRank. Graph Rank makes a set of information available that represents how your community and Facebook perceive your content. This translates into reputation and ultimately affects how visible your brand messages become. If you think this sounds a bit like the sender reputations that occurred in the email world, then you're spot on. To be clear, Graph Rank is a subset of EdgeRank and will allow Facebook as well as marketers to gather social signals. What are social signals, you ask? They are the ways people interact with your brand's activity. A "Like" is a positive signal while reporting content as spam or hiding it from a News Feed is a negative signal. There are many other examples yet Facebook will not share exactly how they decide which activities to show nor what causes these rankings to improve or decline. The good news is that Graph Rank is going to be be composed of several quantifiable metrics. It will help determine how well your content is received by the community and what signals to keep an eye on. By following your Graph Rank, expect to receive more insight into what activities your community craves and what turns them off. The result for your brand is increased relevancy and engagement from the people you want to interact with most.

Here are a few interesting items that were talked about….

  • Ticker is the light-weight News Feed.
  • Facebook hits milestone with 500,000,000 users in one day in the first half of Sept.
  • Zuckerberg's law states that people share 2X more information every year.
  • Timeline represents your profile and was inspired by the question: "What would an annual report for a person look like?"
  • Zuckerberg said he has been using Timeline personally for less than a year.
  • Timeline is currently only available for profiles but will appear on Pages in the future.
  • A "New Class of Apps" refers to improved abilities around easier sharing and realtime interactions.

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Within the social media efforts it is inevitable that an executive, fellow employee or consultant will ask you about the number of Fans, Followers or Subscribers you have. While this is a number to consider and analyze it, more often than not, serves as an ego booster rather than a real gauge for your social media success.

Facebook is leading this charge with its EdgeRank algorithm and as a result has resulted in as much accolades as criticism. EdgeRank analyzes Affinity, Weight and Time to determine what posts/content are shown in your news feed. For an expanded description and a working example of how EdgeRank functions take a look at these informative articles (Everything You Need To Know About Facebook's EdgeRank and Cracking the Facebook Code). Other networks like Twitter and LinkedIn don't force this on users and let it happen organically. However Facebook's argument is that the more relevant content you present to users the more they will use Facebook and the more advertisers and brands will pay for its services. We agree that engagement is the real currency here. We all have, or know someone who has, thousands of fans/followers. We also know that fan/follower base contains such a small percentage of people who consume or care about their content. The bottom line is that only people who care enough about your products and services will consume your content. It's not rocket science just common sense. When building your social media strategies and measurement metrics, move past the ego of followers and focus on measuring and increasing engagement.

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Many of us have social media initiatives that produce results that can, and should, be thought of as Intellectual Property. If you don't think so, or haven't thought about it, Intellectual Property (IP) is defined as "distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized". This applies to the strategies, business process and original content you and your organization are creating. Today this IP manifests itself more and more on social networks because we are allowing employees and partners to utilize (strategies + processes) and distribute (content).

The powerful part is that the IP you are using is generating a less recognized, but just as impactful Intellectual Property. Think of all the fans, followers and subscribers you have accumulated as well as the SEO that has been built. All just as valuable as the original content you created. For more on the SEO aspect see this recent article on SEOmoz.

Now to my point. Many organization have opted to allow their sales force, employees and partners to use their brand in social media outlets. Some allow this directly via policies and others allow this indirectly by ignoring or not implementing a policy. In an alarming amount of cases the Pages, Profiles, Channels, Accounts, etc (Assets) are not owned by the brand directly, but by their employees & partners. This becomes a problem when the employee leaves the company or a partner's interests change. All the content, SEO and other IP that has been built up is lost or goes to work for someone else. When you have helped these employees and partners create meaningful content and helped build this IP that can be devastating to the program and your success metrics.

When creating your strategy be sure to factor in how you want to handle the intellectual property your generating.

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There was a post that went around on AllFacebook regarding a post on Mari Smith's Facebook Page, plus various other Social outlets that alluded to the fact that Facebook was hiding posts from 3rd party applications. Being the provider of a 3rd party application I of course wanted to research this more and understand what was really happening. What we found was that Facebook is hiding posts by 3rd party apps but could not be interpreted as hurting or helping. So one thing is true Facebook is consolidating Posts from the same application when they appear within the Top News or Most Recent view of the News Feed.

The interesting part is that the application that published this is only one of the considerations. The other side of this has to do with the Pages you like. The feed only consolidates the posts from an application but if you have liked different pages that use this application, then they get consolidated too. In the example below there are several other pages that MessageMaker application for One to One Global publishes to but they are not shown because I have not Liked those pages.

The above is not an issue under normal circumstances because the latest MessageMaker post is shown in the News Feed as you would expect. Until this latest post the other post would have appeared in the appropriate chronological location. In fact, I would argue that Facebook is helping promote my past MessageMaker posts by bringing them back up to the most recent and allowing them to be expanded and interacted with. Here is the view after I have liked those other pages.

The above is of course not ideal because it presents a scenario where ONLY the last page or profile, using the same application gets displayed, even though the content is different. Last in Wins! In the example below, which is the post from the original article, the second post was hidden because they are both using the same application.

This presents a HUGE problems for companies that use one application to post to all their various clients because they don't know who has liked other brands using the same application. Just to keep the record straight, we do not follow the one application for all our clients model. We create an application for each brand we work with and in some instances have created multiple apps within that same brand. This is definitely Facebook's way of cutting down on the clutter and I suspect it was put in place because Pages are spreading like wildfire with un-educated brands posting the EXACT same message to all the pages they have created. This posed problems previously when you and I would have Liked more than 1 of their pages. The same post would have shown up in our News Feed twice. By consolidating it to an application Facebook is saying we don't want you overwhelming users with duplicate content. Also it forces providers to be more thoughtful in their deployments and help their brands make better, more engaged connections.

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Almost everyone is familiar with Facebook Pages. What is not so obvious is that Facebook really has several page types. Each has a specialized purpose, with strengths and weaknesses. Understanding them will help you increase your exposure and engagement.

  • Fan Pages – These are the most commonly known Pages, they reside within the Facebook.com interface, and are fantastic vehicles for promoting, acquiring and nurturing Facebook users. They allow Facebook users to Like the Page and as a result will see Posts from the Page in their News Feeds. Many brands are using a single Page,but we are seeing a trend toward multiple Page use. This allows the brand to segment content much the way an email marketer segments their different lists, based on interests or subscriptions.
  • Place Pages – Place Pages, also reside within the Facebook.com interface and are a type of page that result from someone checking in via Facebook's geo-location service, with a focus on promoting a physical location of a brand. These types of pages differ from Fan Pages because they contain a Map of the place location, friends who are currently at the location or have visited and checked into the Place, plus the ability to utilize the Deals functionality. Deals allow brands to promote their services with rewards for checking into Places. These pages are also good for disseminating Job openings for each location and events that are happening in one Place vs another.
  • Open Graph Pages – This is probably the hardest page to understand. The Like button is placed on a page external to Facebook and when Liked the same content subscription as Fan Pages occurs. This allows Page Administrators the ability to post information that is displayed within the News feeds of the people who liked it, just like Fan Pages. However the big difference here is that there is no landing page on Facebook to visit. The Posts will appear in the News Feed but when clicked the consumer of the content will be taken to the original page where the Like Button resides (on a site external from Facebook). As indicated above Page Administrators have a publishing interface that allows them to create Posts and have those posts published to the News Feeds of anyone who has liked the page. See the below image for an example of the Administrative interface.

    These types of Pages have one large capability that other Pages do not and that is the ability to create them without using the Facebook's Page creation tool. All you have to do is provide some Facebook specific meta tags in the header.
     

  • Application Profile Pages – When a brand maintains a Facebook Application that application has an associated Profile Page that contains many of the same features as the other pages such Likes, a Wall, Posts and discussions. These Profile Pages are often neglected since the Brand usually is focusing more on their Fan Pages, however Application Profile Pages allow for very targeted content to an audience that is using your application and solutions on a regular basis.

At my company, One to One Connect we have provided an ability to manage, message and report on all of these Page types via MessageMaker Social. Whether your using a tool or handling these pages within the Facebook interface it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each page type and how to utilize them to their fullest extent.

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We have been working hard on our offerings for social media, which of course includes Facebook. While doing some management this morning I noticed a fantastic addition to each post on our MessageMaker Page.

Posts now display the number of Impressions and any Feedback. Impressions are a concept similar to online ads in that the post has been viewed on your page but also within the news feeds of your fans and other followers. Feedback is how many times your Post has been Liked and commented on.

This is a very valuable new addition as the Insights dashboard doesn't give you any way to analyze the per post information. The only issue I see is that it will be difficult and manual to aggregate this by using Facebook alone. I'm sure they will be providing some sort of tool in the future, for the meantime however MessageMaker Social will do all of this for you plus provide access to these stats for longer than 32+/- days.

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There has been a lot of talk about Facebook's new Messaging system being an email killer. I blame this mostly on the need to over-hype subject lines so they get read. Any veteran email marketer or service provider can tell you about the countless EMAIL KILLERS in our time. Email is going nowhere and is still very effective today.

Since Facebook unveiled the system at the Web 2.0 Conference myself and the industry have been consuming as much information as we can get our hands on. While it won't kill email it is another endpoint that we will be taking seriously and developing solutions for. Everyone is definitely talking about how to get email positioned appropriately and that if you’re not a friend you appear in this "Other" location or get bounced. One of the items that I have not read in any articles yet is how this will affect the delivery format for non-email.

Facebook will now automatically route messages to the location most appropriate for the recipient. Currently this includes the Messages interface, chat & SMS. There is evidently a designation for SMS but no control other than that. This means we may have to radically change how we deliver marketing content to @facebook.com email addresses. It will be interesting to see how content from an email is converted into a chat or SMS message.

One scenario is that we advise marketers to send content more in a Post type of format. These types of messages would contain links that forwards recipients to landing page, shopping carts or other mechanisms that deliver the additional content needed.

Right now they have released a set of Read API's that let the industry start developing applications that can display your messages. Right now there is no way to inject messages into this system other than SMTP, SMPP or via SMS. Also understand that Facebook is notorious for launching features that can drastically change based on user feedback and usage patterns. This will certainly be one of the features that gets built upon and modified.

Are you planning on using Facebooks new Message system and if so How?

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Let me get this out of the way up front. I LOVE APPLE PRODUCTS! I have used, owned and defended many apple products since my college days. Then it was Quadra's in school and my first purchase was a PowerMac 7100 AV. I currently own an AppleTV, iPad, iPod touch and 3 other versions of the iPod.

With that said let me talk about my reservations about Apple products long term, specifically in a post Steve Jobs Apple. Steve is a visionary that has brought apple back from the brink and really transformed it into a consumer devices and software company. They just also happen to sell those desktop and laptop computers still.

Working in the tech space it is interesting to glean tidbits of information through the various interviews. In several occasions I have heard of Steve being the guy that envisioned a product or technology. In his D8 interview he talks about the technology behind their iPhone, iPod and iPad devices and how he realized & envisioned the resulting product suite starting with the phone (see below). By the way this was all brought about by the want to produce a tablet that undoubtedly has roots in their early efforts of the newton.

Also in the Product Management book Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love the author (Marty Cagan) sites Steve as being one of the most gifted Product Managers he has seen. There are many other references here to Steve being the GUY that dreams Apples' cool stuff up. This is really refreshing in a day and age of CEO's being the financial guy or the operations guy and even when they are strategy people they don't dream up the product that often.

This brings me to the question and possibly point. When Steve is no longer able to serve Apple, who will take the innovation reigns? Sure they can find a CEO but who will innovate and bring us these cool products. To date I have seen little of any successor. There are appearances by several VP's in their marketing videos with VP of iPhone Marketing, Senior VP of iOS Software, Senior VP of Hardware & Senior VP of Design (guy with the great British accent). With Steve's health issues a while back I'm sure Apple is aware and working on this but it doesn't make me warm and fuzzy inside that we haven't seen or heard of anything or anyone.

From the brink of no longer being in existence to a valuation higher than that of Microsoft, Apple has really done a great deal right in the last 10 years. I also love their products and the emotion I and my family get from using them (direct and indirect). I hope they can continue this not only in the short term but in the post Steve Jobs reality that is inevitable.

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