Metrics. How Does it All Measure Up?

A metric in its most basic form is a standard of measurement. A metric then allows a researcher to standardize his analysis on a given topic. This allows researchers to compare studies from different cases. When one is researching web metrics he is usually seeking different measurements that can tell him how well a website is performing in comparison to other websites. In order to successfully gage a website’s viability one should conduct proper web analyses. Web analysis according to the knowledgeable guys over at the DAA (Digital Analytics Association) is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the proposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage. I encourage you to follow the link provided below to the google analytics page. Google has packaged every metric needed for understanding and optimizing a website. Users wanting to gage the success of their Facebook pages can refer to Facebook Insights for detailed Facebook specific metrics.

http://www.google.com/analytics/index.html

http://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/?page=aboutus

http://mashable.com/2010/09/03/facebook-insights-guide/

Wake up, look around. Every startup, every restaurant, bakery, babysitter, non profit to multibillionaire organizations have some sort of web presence. Some of these organizations can’t even tell you why they have a web presence all they know is their competitors seem to have one. Understanding how all the metrics add up will lead to more optimal usage of your website and perhaps more revenue as well. Researching metrics can become overwhelming for a website manager due to the amount of information a site can collect from each visitor. Before you begin it’s important to note what to track and measure. Maybe you want to sell ad space on your startup company’s website. Understanding and improving  your metrics can boost your value to advertisers. Information like website traffic, website referrals, average click through on content, how users navigate through your website, what stories are viewed the longest or viewed the most are valuable and can be utilized to influence strategy and increase value. Below is an example of the type of data that can be gained by researching your company’s website.

 

Metrics available today are updated in real time. Those metrics  really become useful when a company can apply context to the quantitative data. Companies can improve their online presence and perhaps increase revenue with algorithms created from specific metrics. For example, when an individual is referred to a story on your page from a friend on Facebook and spends 10 minutes  on the page that might maybe a success to you if you are an online newspaper and your main goal right now is to drive views to web stories. That would look something like (Referred from Facebook)*(10>Mins)= success. If you get success thousands or millions of times you know that that strategy is working. Advertisers then can see thousands or millions of views times 10 minutes as an opportunity to deliver related advertisement with that same data.

Numbers don’t lie.


Turntable.fm

Turntable.fm

Turntable.fm in an online music service which connects you with friends and others in a real time listening experience. Basically users create an avatar to visit virtual listening rooms to listen, socialize, chat, and share (or DJ) through a Facebook portal. Turntable.fm boasts 11 million tracks and if not enough for some music enthusiasts, reserves the ability to upload songs from personal computers. Users take turns DJing (selecting songs) for the individuals in the same virtual room. Users vote on the song selections with points. Users save points in order to upgrade their avatar and to remain the “DJ” for longer time periods. 

Users must use Facebook or Twitter to log into the virtual listening rooms. Turntable will then post on individual timelines about the listening experience. Turntable is just one of the many music services that utilize Facebook’s worldwide connectivity to reach their constituency. Facebook now boasts a music sharing capability via facebook chat. Friends are able to chat with one another and if listening to Spotify or another music service have the option to share music in real time. 

Bottom line is music is a social experience and always will be. Turntable creators envision bringing the offline listening experience to online social networking. Artists are catching on. Rapper Wale now opens his show by “DJing” in a Turntable virtual room for fans who could not make it to the show. Likewise organizers of the Fun Fun Fun fest also utilize a Turntable room for its virtual fans. Perhaps more impressive individuals are planning events with music streamed virtually from Turntable.fm. So if they cannot afford or just don’t want to hire a DJ partiers employ virtual DJs from anywhere in the world. Lets just hope we all still physically, in real life, come together. It will be a sad world if people only attended virtual parties. 


CNIL

National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties

 

Google versus Facebook. As the two digital juggernauts continue their path in taking over the entire digital world, their biggest and most dangerous foe may not be each other nor another digital rival such as Yahoo!. As a matter of fact their scariest nemesis may not be an online company at all. If Facebook or Google is to reach their desired level of world domination they must first overcome the French privacy agency known as the CNIL: The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés or National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties. 

The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties is a French administration responsible for ensuring that information technology is to serve the citizen without affecting: human identity, the rights of man, privacy, individual or public liberties. The French agency is a semi-major administration in the European Union and often leads the charge for enforcing privacy laws against companies racking up personal data. The agency is made up of 17 members 12 of which are elected administrators appointed by the courts or assemblies they represent. The administration gets its authority from the Data Protection Act and “does not take authority from anybody.” -When doing research on their site they very clearly very plainly asked ASKED me if it was okay to attach a cookie to my computer! A change from a time when cookies were just attached to an users computer whether the user knew or not. 

As the two mega companies Facebook and Google continue to ease back the creep out line when no one is looking, revealing more and more private information, the CNIL steps in on the behalf of not only Europeans but individuals worldwide. By investigating the digital powerhouses the CNIL promulgates to the public their rights to with hold and permanently remove information from online at will. For the individuals who feel defenseless in their struggle to remain silent, the CNIL tells digital powerhouses to “pick on someone your own size.” Companies like Facebook and Google analyze this personal information, package it, then sell it to advertisers all the while users donate it for free. Is it free or is the experience the compensation? In this fight for privacy, go CNIL! GO!


Music is and continues to be a very social experience. Take for example Mr. Arty Party. This is his last year of college and he is determined to meet his future wife. He has always heard that music and food is the way to win a woman’s heart. So every weekend he hosts a mixer and invites all the girls at his university. To keep costs down he djs and bar tends and cooks so as you can imagine Pandora, Spotify, and other online music services have become his best friend.

However, every time Arty approaches a promising young lass an advertisement begins! just his luck. He goes for a drink and comes back. He looks around for a girl to react positively to the song selection. This time the genome has  played a song which caused an average looking but good enough to talk to young lady to burst in excitement. He approaches. They dance and exchange numbers, email, Facebook username, twitter, tumblr, foursquare, FaceTime, Skype, and BBM.

When thinking about a place to invite the young decent looking girl he gets stuck. He doesn’t remember any part of the conversation so he has no idea what she likes. Ring! Surprise the girl has messaged Arty first and she wants to go out in an hour. Being an hour away Arty has to leave his house now. Desperate for companionship Arty grabs his BB and heads out the door. Bummed Arty goes on his phone and logs on to Pandora to hear something that will lift his spirits. EUREKA! Pandora saved the stations from the party! Now, if only he  could quickly find local events playing similar music, he could secure two tickets on the way. At every red light he gets stuck looking at his phone and before he knows it he is at the girls house without a final destination..


Dun Dun Dun Duuuun… Music Apps!

Music. Nostalgia. There’s a playlist for everything: Playlist for pregamming; playlist for the actual party; playlist for the important moments after the party. But what’s the playlist for sitting in front of the computer and watching the time marker move across your screen? Doing some preliminary research I have found that, get this, most people who listen to any form of music on their computer whether it be songs owned on the harddrive itself, a CD, or an online music service often select a playlist and leave the computer! Surprising right? Those individuals who do remain on their computers often navigate away from the page. So I set out to find out what music apps are doing to keep users on the page. Well……. not saying all I found were gimmicks that probably wont keep the users attention on the screen long enough for advertisers sake…

…. Buuut, on a positive note, I have found that music apps are doing some pretty cool things: Check this out: its an APP ALBUM! This is so exciting that I’m gonna copy a small chuck of the story thanks to Wired U.K.:

Washington-based brothers Ryan and Hays Holladay, better known as Bluebrain, have announced their latest app-album, The Violet Crown, just in time for the South by Southwest festival.

Like Bluebrain’s previous apps, The National Mall and Listen to the Light, you can only listen to The Violet Crownwithin a strictly defined geographical area — a square encircled by Congress Avenue, Frontage Road, East 7th Street and Cesar Chavez Street in Austin, Texas, approximately matching the boundaries of the area covered by the festival.

If you open up the app within that area, you’ll be able to explore the album by walking around. It’s a novel way of approaching the listening experience — instead of listening to the record chronologically, you listen to it geographically, stumbling into pockets of sound dotted around the streets which blend between each other smoothly. “Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure of an album,” the pair say on the iTunes preview page for the app.

Imagine that! Music is such a social experience- this takes online social networking to real life social networking!

There is also an iphone app that reads your tweets while playing a song from your itunes at a lower level in the background. Cool.. ehh.. maybe once or twice but what if Pandora (for all us free subscribers out there) played their ads with songs like the ones currently playing in your playlist. As a seemless transition into the ads. People wont be interrupted as much!

Ooo. Ever wanted to be in your own music video? Ever imagined yourself walking down those hanging stairs in smooth criminal. Well now you can! Well… Video star an app for iphone allows users to shoot a video with cool music video like effects to songs already stored on the harddrive. So now you can get to shooting.

You might have heard of QR codes which embed information in a barcode-like square that you have to take a picture of to take advantage of the information. have you heard of audio tags? Audio tags are high pitched sounds embedded in music that trigger your iphone to do several things such as visit website and gather other information. Sonicnotify is the innovative app behind this, check it out:

A startup called SonicNotify embeds inaudibly high-pitched audio signals within music or any other audio track. When a compatible app hears that signal, it triggers any available smartphone function to link you to websites, display text, bring up map locations, display a photo, let you vote on which song a performer plays next and so on.

SonicNotify was developed with help from Cantora Records + Labs, which made its name by funding (for $400, initially) and releasing the band MGMT‘s massively popular records. As part of its newly minted technology division, Cantora, which is also a record label and publishing company, is offering $25,000 to $100,000 to promising startups, among the first of which is SonicNotify.

Lady Gaga could have used its technology on her Monster Ball tour1, and Coachella 2013 and other events are next in line. To interact via SonicNotify, fans can use any SonicNotify-enabled app. If you want to see it in action now, you can do so with the official Sonic Experiences app.

In searching I did find some really innovative and imaginative music apps. But I still cannot find a solution to my original issue. How can the apps keep us on the page? With audio advertisements available, should they even try?


Topics

The previous posts really get at the technological side of our company reports. I’ll try to refrain from redundancy. It is essential to convince our target companies that following our recommendations (effectively utilizing Big Data) will positively alter existing and potential constituencies behavior and interaction with company products.

First and foremost we must show our target companies that WE, the “really gets me” team, really get our respective companies. We should include a segment explaining which constituencies each company currently targets as well as potential consumers.

We should include articles that have taught us the value of eliminating inefficiencies such as the ideas presented in Moneyball as well as methods companies can utilize to inject themselves into the habits of their consumers. Such as:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=4&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytmag&pagewanted=all

We should explain and recommend proper usage of permeable data. We should ensure companies that we are not trying to pimp out their target constituencies data, but efficiently use them with all the proper permissions. Ensure that the companies know that users are opting into sharing their data.

Include what companies are already using permeable data for and how they can use it better. I know this is kinda scary we should refrain from telling companies if they suck at using free data or not, but rather suggest methods to which to improve by.

BUY BUY BUY


Apps & Facebook

According to facebook, creating a FB Open graph application is a sure way for companies to boost their online presence. Open graph applications allow facebook users to share activities users are currently engaged in. For example, Spotify’s fb app allows friends to share songs they are currently listening to or have listened to in the recent past. So if I am stalking one of my 1500 closest friends and want to know what she has listened to or is currently listening to all I have to do is click a button on Spotify an all of her listening habits are available to me (of course she has to be using Spotify and she has to opt into sharing).

Despite all the privacy concerns looming around open graph, making music a social experience is a pretty cool idea. After all, music is social. We know this because live performances continue to thrive  even during a struggling time for the music industry.Music apps have taken this idea an offered users a way to share their music experience even when alone.

Companies create fb open graph apps with the intention of allowing users to be more social and to boost online interaction, or so they say. Companies also seek to gain more personalized interactions with their consumers with the information consumers freely provide to the open graph. In return for personalized services the user promotes the various apps on her time line and other feeds.

But is the idea effective? Are companies actually receiving growth in traffic and more importantly revenue from the open graph applications? Facebook is reporting that companies are. Problem is facebook reports these increases in percentages and we all know how we can easily manipulate those. For example, it cites that Rdio has seen a “30x increase in new user registrations from Facebook” In reality, the app itself now has grown by just 200 users to reach a tiny 4,000 daily Facebook-logged in users– According to Josh Constine from techcrunch.com

It seems to be a bit too early to tell. It also seems, at least to me, like free, highly personalized, advertising. Individuals use the apps, like them or dislike them, the app then publishes the activity to their friends on facebook in hopes the friends will check out the apps as well. The more the user engages an app the more information advertisers and the developers gain about him. Advertisers and app developers seem to gain the most from open graph. They get valuable information they can sell. While users get to know their friends in ways they should already know a friend.

Check out how say moviefone is doing with its facebook open graph app-

Moviefone

AOL Moviefone has been the premier destination for movie showtimes and tickets for the last 20 years, first as a telephone service and then online. The brand became part of the AOL family of companies in 1999 and now creates original editorial content alongside its informational offerings.

Objective

Allow users to connect with their Facebook friends on the Moviefone site, push unique content directly to interested audiences and drive additional traffic back to AOL Moviefone.

Implementation

Moviefone’s full-scale Facebook implementation leveraged Login with Facebook, Graph API, Events API, Like Button and the Activity Feed to enable social sharing and engagement with AOL Moviefone and its offerings.

Results

  • 300% increase in traffic from Facebook back to AOL Moviefone since the launch of the Facebook integration on September 17th 2010. Referrals have increased from an average of approximately 40,000 per month to 250,000 per month.
  • Approx. 40% click-through-rate for shared content. The average user returns and clicks back to AOL Moviefone about seven times.

Key Takeaways

Social Plugins such as the Like Button help make static content more relevant and engaging. They offer a powerful distribution platform that enables personalized experiences for people and their friends, and helps increase discovery on your website.