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Seeing the Future: Sentiment Analysis and Predicting Trends

ibm-steampunkAs marketers we spend considerable time looking at analytics.

Much of the analytics has to do with prior performance. We look at what has happened, determined why we think it happened that way then we adjust accordingly.

In a real-time sense we look at analytics and we hope to learn what is happening “on-the-fly” and adjust accordingly.

So what else is there? Well, there’s always predicting the future. Yeah, that’s right. Predictive analytics are getting attention. I suspect that we are in the heavy hype phase where it sounds cool but will the delivery match the anticipation? We have enough of an Internet industry track record to know that hype often outpaces reality by a sizable margin (how many “This is REALLY the year of mobile!” claims were made starting in about 2000?).

Just How Big is Big Data?

Big data is a term you hear bandied about a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean?

Big data refers to any collection of information that is so large, you can’t use normal means to process it. For example, I can list all of the kids in the local elementary school on a spreadsheet then use conventional sort methods to find out how many are girls, how many are born in December, how many have siblings in the same school. Easy.

Now, suppose I want to mine that same information, but with all the kids in every elementary school in the US. That would require a very, very large spreadsheet and better tools for sorting and quantifying.

In online marketing, we’re looking a big data sets connected to internet usage. We begin with a simple slice from Monetate’s new Infographic “The Retailer’s Guide to Big Data.”

Then we add in other types of data collected by retailers on the internet. Names, addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, email. Then we move beyond personal identifiers into personal preferences; what did a person buy, how often did they buy, did they buy the blue one more often than the red one. From there we expand to product reviews, and Likes and Pins on Pinterest, shared links, photos and blog posts. Each of these items tells us something about the person who interacted with each of these experiences.

Google To Print: My Ad Dollars Can Beat Your Ad Dollars Anytime!

Let’s call this one a graphical depiction of how the ad business has changed in the last ten years. The graph comes from Statista by way of Cnet and here it is:

According to this chart, Google finally pulled ahead of print advertising in dollars spent. Not surprising, given the state of the newspaper and magazine business, but wait. . . there are a few points to consider.

Earlier today, my son reminded me that numbers can be manipulate to prove almost anything. We were discussing time expansion as it relates to creation, (yes, really) but the point applies here as well. Statista states right off the bat that this isn’t a completely fair comparison. Google’s numbers are worldwide, while the print numbers are US only. If you included international print, I’d guess that the scale would tip in print’s favor.

Google Analytics Enhancement Can Help Analyze ROI Across Channels

While I write about many facets of the digital marketing space I readily admit when I am out of my league and truly understanding Google Analytics is one of them. For all of my good intentions I have not gotten the training necessary to truly get the most from the tool.

As a business person though I can appreciate when anyone talks about tracking ROI more effectively. That is what a new feature of Google Analytics, the beta Cost Data Import tool, is helping analytics users to do.

The Google Analytics blog reported yesterday

Google Analytics has been a great place to analyze the performance of your Google advertising programs, but a piece of the puzzle has been missing: analyzing return on investment across all your digital channels. That’s why we’re happy to announce our new Cost Data Import tool, now available in public beta. This tool allows Google Analytics users to import their cost data from any digital source — such as paid search providers, display providers, affiliates, email, social and even organic traffic.

Your imported cost data can be viewed in two places: in a new report called Cost Analysis in Traffic Sources, and in the newly publicly available Attribution Modeling Tool. These reports show you how all your digital marketing channels are performing compared to each other, so you can make better decisions about your marketing programs.

New Tumblr Metrics Define the Power of the Reblog

The success of a blog is generally measured in terms of incoming traffic. Social media is all about outward traffic – how many people reTweeted your Twitter post or shared your post on Facebook. Tumblr is unique in that it combines these two elements – you want people to visit your Tumblr blog on a daily basis, but you also want them to share what they find there via a reblog button.

Reblogging is such an integral part of Tumblr, they’ve partnered with Union Metrics to provide custom analytics for blogs on their system.

Union Metrics for Tumblr reporting includes:

  • Post and note volume to show overall engagement levels and trends over time
  • Top contributors and curators to help identify key influencers

Google Analytics Introduces Shortcuts Beta

In the data frantic world we live in the quickest access to reports will always get the attention of the online marketer.

Google Analytics has announced a beta called Shortcuts which according to the Analytics blog

Shortcuts help you get to the exact view you want of your data in GA in record time. Rather than having to go through the “find report, add segment, change, sort” process daily, with Shortcuts you can do it once, save it, and come back to it in a single click.

The blog takes you through the process to set up your shortcuts then adds this most important piece of information

The following information is saved as part of a Shortcut:

I’ve Got Big Data, Now What?

The talk for many marketers is about big data.

There is so much data to be had and it seems that the volume of this data is not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, it is likely that its collection will accelerate. What needs to catch up, though, is the ability of businesses to take action with this data. Otherwise, this is all just an exercise in ‘getting ready to get ready’.

Oracle is one of, if not the, biggest players in big data and they recently reached out to C level executives to find out what the trouble is with big data (repackaged via eMarketer). Looking at the leading response there is a lot of work to be done here.