Two Facebook resources you should check out

2 10 2009

This week I did some training work with a (very) large corporate and came across the resources below that I thought would be worth highlighting. The training covered six markets (Turkey, Romania, Russia, Poland, the Middle East and India) and delved into social media trends in each. Stating the obvious, uptake and popularity of different social media applications/services varies widely from country to country.

I spent a lot of time online collecting all of the data that I could about usage trends and service popularity in the regions mentioned. The most relevant stuff I think for the UK, is the Facebook stuff below. Plus, I have been on a bit of a Facebook kick as of late so why stop now?

CheckFacebook.com

CheckFacebookBookmark this site now. It was developed by Nick Gonzalez, a web analyst specializing in social media and former writer for an obscure blog called TechCrunch.

Each day, CheckFacebook.com tracks data reported from Facebook’s advertising tool to help marketers and researchers understand how Facebook is spreading across the globe.

Mouse over country and up pops an up to date user figure. Select said country and it will give you a demographic breakdown of users. It also tracks the Top 10 Largest Countries on Facebook, as well as the 10 Fastest Growing countries over the past week.

With Facebook hitting 250 million users on 15 July, then cracking 300 million users only two months later on 15 September, this is a handy resource to have.

O’Reilly Research – Active Facebook users by country & region (August 2009)

This presentation is only a month old (or is it a month out of date?) but provides a comparative analysis of Facebook users worldwide. It goes into some depth, providing a global overview of users by age and gender, as well as diving into things at a regional level.

Combine the CheckFacebook.com stats with the presentation template laid out by the O’Reilly Research slide deck and you’ll be well on your way to creating up to date bespoke Facebook research.

Not bad eh?

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Rubbish social media stats let the side down

20 09 2009

It’s been about a month or so since I first came across this video via a post on Mashable called 30+ Impressive Social Media Stats Visualized.  The video was put together by Erik Qualman, author of the upcoming book Socialnomics, and has received over 646,000 views to date.

At first I thought that it was pretty decent, especially if you like numbers and stats and all that (which I do).

But a few things just didn’t seem right at first.

It might have been the use of a Moby as the backing track, which is enough to make me suspicious of pretty much anything. Or perhaps it was the opening teaser question ‘…is [social media] the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?’ Um, no. That’s just nonsense.

But I looked past all that, and enjoyed the video. It was the sort of thing I could picture myself pulling up in a training session. I even jotted down what I thought were some of the most noteworthy stats, which were to form the basis of this blog post.

SocMedFailWhaleBut focus of this post has shifted completely since I began looking into some of these grand stats more closely. It seems that Qualman has fudged or completely misrepresented a few numbers which makes the video now look a bit sloppy.

Read just a few comments on Erik’s blog and on the original Mashable article and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Robert Cole has written a fantastic blog post about his reaction to the video and some of those duff stats, and the following summary bears repeating:

…we have accurate statistics mixed in with a bunch of hyperbole that inadvertently undermines the credibility of both the presentation and social media. The video is a perfect example of social media at its worst.

So what’s the big deal? Well, a couple of things.

  1. Some of the stats are just plain wrong. This not only takes some of the shine off the glossy-techno-social-media-love-fest, but also arms those who watch it (and don’t question it) with incorrect facts to perpetuate. By way of example, the Mashable article has been re-tweeted over 450 times.
  2. At a time when social media enthusiasts from PR/Ad/Media circles are trying to determine the best way of measuring effectiveness and ROI, the last thing we need is someone overstating the case for effect (or to sell more books). It’s counterproductive for a start, but also gives anyone who thinks this area is a little flaky the ammunition they need to be, well, right.

I’m sure Qualman’s intentions were good and completely genuine. And I do agree with one of the closing lines of the video: ‘[social media is] a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.’

But huge numbers in social media – like Facebook cracking 300 million users this week – though impressive, tell only part of the story.  I worry that by overstating the numbers to inflate the impact of social media, the Qualmans of the world let the side down a bit.

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Event: Measurement Camp London

8 08 2009

Measurement Camp

On Thursday 6 August I popped along to another installment of Measurement Camp, hosted at We Are Social’s swank offices and facilitated by Will McInness.

measurement camp

Measurement Camp

There was a really great turnout, though not quite the 96 people who signed up on the events page. As ever, it was a diverse bunch with representation from Media, Ad, Digital, Social Media and PR agencies, as well as a few clients.

Beth Granter from the Good Agency took the stage again to share a campaign case study that she recently completely for the RSPCA. It needs to be said that she stepped up and pulled the presentation deck together only the day before, so her ‘hardcore measurement camper’ status is well deserved.

This particular campaign was all about getting people to sign an online petition in response to the Government’s public consultation on the welfare of racing greyhounds. They used a combination of blogger outreach, forum discussions, Twitter and Facebook ads to make that happen. The campaign looked pretty well thought out from its inception, and social media measurement wasn’t an afterthought, but rather it was built into the execution from the very beginning. Nice one.

This is what I took away:

  • Facebook ads drove the most traffic – Facebook ads appeared to drive the most traffic to the petition by a healthy margin, no doubt due to the precise targeting and segmentation that can be achieved. I haven’t dabbled with Facebook ads much myself, but am increasingly curious as to how they might be employed as part of a PR-led online/social media campaign. (Or is that just cheating?)
  • Twitter/blog/forum users were more engaged – Beth presented a slide showing the source of web traffic to the RSPCA site, and the approximate length of time each user group spent on the site. It seems that people who came to the petition via Twitter/forums/blogs spent the longest time on the site. I found this fascinating and I think you could persuasively conclude a few things:
    1. The audience who either chose to ‘follow’ the campaign on Twitter or read about it on a forum/blog they frequent, are likely to be the most interested in the subject matter and therefore engaged in the campaign.
    2. I think it’s also reasonable to assume that they were also the most likely to fill in the petition, hence all the time that was spent on the petition page of the website

So, to crudely summarise the online behaviour from the tactics above, Facebook ads will give you quantity, but social media ‘content’ will deliver quality engagement.

The Facebook ads seemed to be successful at providing a short burst of high volume activity (visits to the website), but this interaction may have been fleeting (less likely to fill in petition). By contrast, the Twitter/blog/forum audience was smaller, but probably the ‘right’ one and took the time to complete the task at hand.

Very cool indeed.

All in all, it was a good session as evidenced by some of the #measurementcamp comments flowing on Twitter during and after the event.

At the closing of the session Will unveiled to everyone the newly completed measurement camp brand and logo (above) to be licensed under creative commons ‘so you can bosh it on stuff’.  A move so simple and smart, it begs the question ‘why didn’t we do that earlier’?

I look forward to the next one.

Other links:





Michael Jackson in numbers. Shamone.

7 07 2009

Earlier this morning I tweeted an article that I thought, at the time, might have been overstating things a bit:

Tweet

No doubt the memorial service was  expected to be big, but the biggest event in the history of the internet? I was a bit skeptical. But the article rightly pointed out that:

Since Jackson’s death almost two weeks ago, fans have been inundating social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace with comments, tributes and downloads, while searches for Jackson-related news have reached record levels on Google and Yahoo.

The ‘morning after’ he featured prominently on my Spotify playlist. And scrolling back over my Twitter activity the last couple weeks, I’ve made my fair share of #MJ related Tweets (here, here and here for example).

I can’t really comment on the ‘biggest event in history’ but on reflection, I think the Times might have had a point to an extent. The last couple weeks have been pretty significant and a number of services have been showing signs of Michael Jackson-related strain. So I’ve decided to go back and compile many Michael Jackson online stats as I could, to get a sense of the enormity of what’s been happening. There’s certainly been no shortage of them:

(Credit: Google)

I could go on but you get the picture – it’s been a pretty mad couple of weeks! I think the figures above show not just a morbid fascination with Michael’s death, but also a celebration of his life to an extent.

Something tells me that Michael’s story online won’t end anytime soon.

Do comment or let me know if I’ve missed any significant stats/figures/etc.