January 2013 Archives
In a typical session in my free time online I might post a few snapshots on Instagram, check out the latest viral YouTube video and update my Facebook page. I might also research and buy a book for myself, or a gift—or I might price a couple of possibilities for my family’s summer vacation. But in my use of social media, many of these activities soon give way to new enthusiasms — #lancearmstrong already seems like yesterday’s news by #inaugurationday.
The point is that as more of us live more of our lives through our broadband connections, marketers have to search for ways to access and leverage the vast Social Data trail of our interests—some fleeting and some more abiding—that we create online.
And IAB’s Data Council just rolled out a new report—Social Data: Demystification & Best Practice—that can give companies and marketers a sturdier starting point for understanding and making better use of this growing mass of information and its power to positively influence millions of people through social amplification.
Social Data flows from a million directions. For example, many online marketers are using trackable URLs when posting to social media. These allow you to see exactly where your traffic and customers come from. Another popular social media tool allows you to add a share button wherever you need one on your website—a tool that creates data about who comes to your site, when and why. Of course social media sites themselves also generate masses of social data for you to use. All in all, just like other entities that are growing their online community, we at IAB use Social Data analysis tools, to see where our offerings are strong and to get feedback that helps us reach unexplored audiences.
Social Data: Demystification and Best Practice offers best practices and a common language to help analyze and discuss the data generated by these many layers of social media. Creating a common language is key, because after extracting Social Data, making useful sense of it is still often not easy—sometimes simply because people use the same terms for different phenomena. The report further explains what must go into meaningful data analytics—another critical hurdle we all must clear, as we move away from tracking mere page views in favor of deeper aspects of Social Data, including propagation, amplification and sentiment.
What I think is really exciting here—to me, the basis for Social Data’s promise—is that it’s all about social media’s community of millions of people happily and openly coming together. But with the resulting pool of data so deep and varied, the new IAB report is like navigation software that can help you and your particular company or marketing campaign find the right direction through a real jungle of information to your specific goals. You can download the report at http://iab.net/socialdata.
About the Author
Patrick Dolan is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Mr. Dolan is responsible for finance, operation, costs, compliance, and risk management. In addition, he works closely with the rest of the executive management team to supervise strategy and revenue optimization. He can be reached on Twitter at @patrickdolan.