Catching up with my analytics reading, I saw this interesting post from Dennis Mortensen explaining his Online Business Media Quadrant Model. His basic assumption is that in a world where user generated content becomes more important, measuring only what happens in the controlled environment of your site (with tools like Google Analytics and Omniture) gives us only half the picture (or one quarter, if you don't measure UGC on your site). He recommends a more holistic approach by looking at
- Controlled On site Content
- Controlled Off site Content (User Generated)
- Uncontrolled On site Content (Syndicated content - PR)
- Uncontrolled Off site Content (User Generated)
What a nice summary of some of the work we have been doing recently ;) A couple of thoughts on this (not yet well structured)
- In China, but I assume in other countries as well, marketers still have a strong urge to control as much of the conversation as possible. This old reflex limits the reach of their message. Web 2.0 is a reality in China and marketers need to move away from a shouting mentality towards communication mentality, that emphases listening to the "voice of the customer".
- Separating online marketing and PR becomes increasingly difficult, especially when looking at user generated content (or IWOM to use another term). Marketers need to find ways to tear down the organizational barriers that prevent better integration especially on the analytics side. Otherwise their understanding will be limited to one or two quarters of Dennis' quadrant.
- Measuring user generated content (quantity, quality, key
messages) is a new challenge for most advertisers in China. With the
amount of conversation going on in the millions of blogs & BBS's in
China, manual tracking and counting is not scalable. While Sam Flemming's CIC
owns the conversation an IWOM tracking in China, looking at other
alternatives might pay off, especially regarding integration with
current analytics efforts.
- Measuring off-site content provides a new challenge to advertisers as well. While some of the large advertisers in China just get comfortable with Web Analytics on their own site, some of our client already move away from viewing their site and their banner campaigns as the main medium for communication. They increasingly communicate with 3rd party vendors (e.g. video, sharing sites, business communities) to engage their audiences more effectively. While that makes a lot of sense from a marketing perspective, analytics team need to find solution for tracking the effectiveness of these cooperation. A low trust environment like China adds its own challenges (tip: never trust your vendors numbers). The best solution we have found thus far is forcing vendors to integrate our tracking codes on the pages / experiences they create for our clients. While this opens a whole different can of worms (explaining the differences between "our" numbers and "their" numbers anyone?) it seems like the best available solution.
- Making your own content "mobile" will significantly increase your reach. Many brands in China have experimented with viral videos, hosted both on their mini-sites and video sharing sites and our numbers show a huge boost reach. Who says video's are the only "mobile" / "viral" content brands can create? Think about making your downloads available on third party sites, your mini-games and your widgets and you will be rewarded with an explosion in reach. At least as long as you can measure it. Users seem to be more willing to engage in advertisers content when they are in the "mood" to watch, play or download.
P.S.: You can find a version of this post on longmarch.chinalytics.com. Please leave your comments there since I plan to move this blog over there.