Rabu, 21 Mei 2014

The Truth Behind the Failure of Digg

Digg was once the biggest hotshot in the Web 2.0 world. At it’s peak, it could drive massive attention and millions of visitors to a site that ranked high on it’s popularity scale, and was successful enough to turn DOWN offers from companies like Google (a reported $200 million deal).

Digg worked in a very simple way – users could submit links to articles, videos, pictures, and other interesting web content. Users could “digg” the story (equivalent to liking it) or “bury” the story (equivalent to down-voting). Popular stories would be featured more prominently on the main homepage; unpopular content would go nowhere.   Many publishers added “digg” buttons to their pages, allowing users to vote as they browse the web. The end product was a series of wide-ranging, constantly-updated lists of popular and trending content from around the Internet, aggregated by a social network.
Digg recently was sold off in three parts –  the Digg brand, website and technology were sold to Betaworks for $500,000; 15 staff were transferred to the Washington Post’s SocialCode for $12 million; and a suite of patents were sold to LinkedIn for around $4 million. How did a company like Digg fall from such grace? Here’s some of the key reasons why.
  • All-or-Nothing Redesign –  All data points to the release of version 4 of Digg as the tipping point of the sinking ship. The new version of the site launched for all users on August 25th, 2010 – with minimal beta testing or tiered rollout, all users complained about bugs, missing features, and general confusion. The user base planned a protest and quit en masse, causing the traffic to drop significantly.
  • Underestimating Competetion – Reddit launched around the same time as Digg, but separated itself in many ways. Their biggest advantage was offering an open source platform that developers could use to create their own sub-categories within the site. This freedom allowed more niche-specific content and discussion to be curated by the users themselves, which lead to more brand loyalty. Other important differences included a paid level of service (Reddit Gold), and adoption by key demographic influencers (like Stephen Colbert). Reddit became a beacon to ex-digg users, and the data correlates between digg’s decline and reddit’s surge in popularity.
  • Attraction to Spammers –  New features in the infamous v4 redesign were clear signals to content spammers that the floodgates were open. Users could automate the submission process through RSS feeds, leading to massive amounts of low-quality and duplicate content. The emergence of services offering to sell “diggs” for a fee reached critical mass. Less and less content that defined the Digg community was reaching the front page, and the users knew it. 
  • Departure of Founders – Digg always had an amazing roster of talent as part of their staff. Through Digg Labs, new and interesting concepts were always being created and tested, and receiving praise throughout the tech industry. When co-founders Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose both stepped down from Digg in 2010, it was a clear sign to the talent that they would need to make power moves, and take their pet projects to higher levels.
So here we are again – yet another once mighty social network has fallen. Don’t think it can’t happen to others!

4 Steps to Measure Social Media ROI

According to a new study from Awareness, a social media marketing software company, 57% of companies say that measuring the ROI of social media is their biggest challenge. Many businesses struggle to measure ROI because they didn’t create their social media presence with ROI in mind. Measuring results is an afterthought. They create profiles, share content and then wonder if all their hard work is affecting business growth. Tying social media efforts to results is difficult when you’re unclear on your objectives. The following 4 steps will help businesses measure their ROI effectively and will also create a process for using data to inform content strategy.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

What “return” do you want to see by using social media? If you sell a product, you may want social media to bring you more sales revenue. If you want to sell more online, your objective might be to increase web traffic through social media. Your service-based business might need new leads from potential clients filling out contact forms. No matter what your business, you must clearly define what success looks like. If you aren’t clear on the return you’re trying to achieve, you’ll never come close to measuring the impact of the time and money you invest in social media.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you need to clearly identify who your audience is through your social channels. Some businesses seek to engage all their market segments online. Others have a particular client or customer in mind that they’d like to engage. It’s important to know who you’re trying to reach so that you invest your time and money in the right channels. You might have the best Pinterest strategy out there, but if your customers are 18-25 year old men, you’re not likely to see results. Think about where your audience already spends time and meet them there. It’s much easier to engage with people in the places where they’re already used to spending time instead of trying to change their behavior.

Step 3: Develop Your Content

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach, you can begin to think about what type of content will support your goals and resonate with your audience. Too many companies skip straight to step 3 and gloss over the first two steps. They end up making two mistakes by skipping ahead.
Mistake 1: The company that focuses on objectives and neglects its audience will share content that is overly aggressive, sales-oriented and self-promotional. This is the company that only talks about its products, never asks engaging questions and uses social media as if it were a television commercial. This type of content doesn’t engage fans and over time, they’ll either tune out or opt out of receiving your updates.
Mistake 2: The company that focuses only on its audience will share exciting and engaging information. Fans and followers love reading the updates, watching the videos and participating in the discussions. But if this content is merely entertaining and not helping achieve any goals, there will be no return on investment. In order to see a ROI from social media, the content needs to both support your goals and provide value to your audience.

Measure and Adjust

Peter Drucker, the famous management professor, once said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” If you aren’t actively measuring your results, you won’t know how to adjust your strategy accordingly. Social media provides an enormous amount of data. The key to measuring your ROI is figuring out which key metrics will help you understand if you’re hitting your objectives. Measuring ROI can be challenging. If your objective is to increase sales on your website through social media, what metrics should you track? Conversions and sales for users that visit your site from a Facebook or Twitter link will help you track ROI, but what if you’re not getting any sales at all? How do you identify the problem? It may help to measure metrics along each step of your social media sales funnel. At the end of the funnel is your goal. In this case, the goal is to increase website sales. You also need to track different metrics along the funnel to identify problems and track results. If no one knows your company exists, you’ll have a hard time getting people to visit your website and purchase from you. That’s why you need to measure the number of fans and followers you have at the top of the funnel. These are the people who are aware of your company, product or service. Once someone is aware, you want to move them to engagement. An engaged fan not only reads your content, but also likes, shares, retweets and comments on it. This fan interacts with you. Ultimately, you want an engaged fan to take action by purchasing your product. Once your fans are customers, move them back up to engagement and keep them as loyal customers in the future. If you analyze your social media using this sales funnel framework, you can identify where you need to make adjustments. Your content strategy should change if none of your fans are engaged. You might need to invest in Facebook or Twitter ads if you don’t have enough fans reading your content. If you have highly engaged fans that don’t buy your products, you might need to improve your web design or adjust prices. Measuring ROI is a challenge, but it’s important to realize that you can measure it. If you aren’t clear on what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll find it very difficult to measure ROI. Over time as you measure your results and tweak your strategy, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the right metrics for your company.

The True Meaning of Google Ingress

This week, Google has launched a new “alternate reality game” designed for Android phone users named Ingress. The story line is definitely unique and tailored to a tech-savvy urban audience, which is why it is ideal for Android owners.

In a nutshell, the purpose of the game is for users to explore the physical world through the camera in their smart phone. Using augmented reality, users collect virtual currency pieces as they walk along pre-mapped paths, turning a leisurely stroll into a collection game similar to Pac-Man.  These collectible items can be “cashed in” at other real-world points of interest, such as sculptures, libraries, and public art murals.

Traditionally, alternate reality gaming serves as a way to promote an upcoming product launch or supplement a Hollywood movie – so why is Google getting into the alternate reality gaming scene? Our guess is that Google is using this strategy as a way of collecting data through it’s user base to improve their Maps product, and compete with Nokia’s turn-by-turn urban maps.

Players walk around footpaths and pedestrian routes that Google Maps currently doesn’t cover well. The reward for the user is two-fold; arbitrary points and advancement in the story, and the real world experience of travelling and interacting with public areas that may have been otherwise ignored. All the time the game client is reporting back to Google their position, speed and the like, so Google gets to build a massive database of popular pedestrian-accessible areas and common routes between and around them. Since Geotagged photos and GPS tracking are a major part of the user experience, this data will most certainly be used to Google’s advantage.

If you’ve followed Google’s moves over the years, you know that they have had massive success with using free “pointless” services to optimize their flagship products. For several years, Google operated a 411-style directory assistance service totally free to all users. This allowed Google millions of samples of human voices, dialects, accents, and other useful data that went into Voice Commands for Android and voicemail transcription for Google Voice.

You may also remember Google’s purchase of ReCAPTCHA in 2009. The reason behind this was to once again use user-generated input and data into optimizing a character recognition system which was later tweaked and optimized for the Google Books project.
Some privacy advocates might take issue with the “spying” nature of Ingress, but if past successes show anything, it’s that Google is MASTERFUL at mining and compiling anonymous data from willing participants, and in the end it leads to better and more useful products for the rest of the world.