Insights: Another step forward for Radian6 and social media measurement

Radian6 followed up last week’s announcement of its acquisition by Salesforce with a big product announcement at the Social2011 conference today – the introduction of its Insights platform.

Yes, you read that right. Radian6 is fashioning its newest product as a platform. In doing so, it is eschewing the temptation to try to develop its own proprietary best solution. Instead, Radian6 Insights users will be able to integrate into Radian6 data from measurement apps that they judge are the best and are already using. This is a bold solution. One that I haven’t seen before in the social media measurement space.

In doing this, the folks at Radian6 are acknowledging that, as good as they are and as rapidly as they’ve grown, there are other smart people working on their own innovations. By partnering and integrating with these other innovative services, Radian6 can accelerate its own innovation and grow much more rapidly than it could if it tried to develop its own proprietary solution.

Initially, they are launching with partners that include Klout, OpenAmplify and OpenCalais. And they promise other partners soon.

One more reason I like this. Not only does it promise to add something totally new to the social media analytics mix, but it also signals that Marcel LeBrun and the Radian6 team aren’t folding up their tents and disappearing inside Salesforce. They’re keeping the company intact and continuing to innovate on what they’ve already built.

What’s next?

When he announced Radian6 Insights this morning, LeBrun also indicated that we should expect announcements about the integration of Radian6 with Salesforce at the Dreamforce conference in August. As I said in my post about the acquisition of Radian6 by Salesforce, I’m hoping for big things from that announcement.

 

Finally, a means of measuring the ROI of social media?

It’s about more than valuation

The big news this past week was the announcement that Salesforce.com would pay $323 million to acquire social media analytics company Radian6. The size of the valuation makes this an acquisition to watch. But what’s even more interesting is the potential it holds to trigger a great leap forward in the evolution of social media monitoring and analysis services.

A fork in the road

As a longtime user of social media monitoring services (Thornley Fallis currently uses Radian6, Sysomos and PostRank), I watched as the companies appeared to take divergent paths.

Sysomos has pushed its analytic tools (including a great keyword mapping tool), appealing to the data miners in our company. At the same time, it used its blog to highlight the insights that could be surfaced through its database.

PostRank has followed a similar path, but with the addition of some nifty APIs that enable other organizations to link directly to its database and build its algorithms into their applications. Both Sysomos and PostRank have placed emphasis is on the data, the database and the analysis. And in doing this, they have gained a loyal user base among social media professionals and analysts.

Radian6 seemed to follow a different path. The first indication of this was the introduction of its Engagement Console about 18 months ago. At that time, Radian6 seemed to shift its focus away from the core analytics tools toward providing tools to enable large organizations to manage their social media interactions.

In this way, I think Radian6 targeted the enterprise. And that brings them into Salesforce’s sweet spot.

Corporations like Dell have pointed to the challenge of scaling social media that stops many enterprises from using it effectively. Radian6 – and most other social media monitoring solutions have focused on providing community managers with tools to identify and manage the most important conversations in social media.

Until now.

Now, the Salesforce – Radian6 deal offers the promise of something truly different – an effective means of measuring the ROI of social media. Through the merger of Radian6 and Salesforce, I think they have the essential building blocks of an end to end service that will enable us to track our social media outreach and connect it to the sales funnel. If it is integrated this way, marketing and sales departments finally will be able to identify which social media activities lead to revenue – and to measure the return on their investment in social media activities. If Salesforce and Radian6 can pull this off, it may well yield a handsome return on the $1/3 billion investment Salesforce just paid for Radian6.

I’m cheering for them to make this work. If they do, a new standard in social media monitoring and measurement will be established and we’ll all benefit from it.

This is bound to be discussed at Social2011

I’ll have a chance to explore this when I participate in a panel on Friday at Social2011, Radian6′s user conference. I’ll be on panel titled “Can you define the ROI of social media?” with some people who know measurement – Katie Paine, Marshall Sponder and Ken Burbary. I’ll be sure to ask them what they think the implications are of the Salesforce-Radian6 deal. And you can be sure I’ll tweet the discussion. (Follow the hashtag #social2011.)

Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman have views about this too?

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about the Salesforce-Radian6 dealon Inside PR episode 248.

Can "media visibility" be used as a surrogate for market research?

The current Canadian government has made no secret of its disdain for traditional public opinion research. They have slashed budgets for public opinion research and curtailed the number of studies being commissioned.

So, it’s not surprising that alternatives to conventional market research should be a hot topic in Canada’s capital.

The Ottawa Chapter of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association will feed this discussion at an upcoming luncheon seminar. According to the event description:

Michael Sloboda, Director of Media Intelligence for MediaMiser, will give a presentation revolving around both social and traditional media scans, content analysis and how to combine tone, attention, and prominence to derive a metric for Media Visibility. This will apply to print, online, and broadcast media.

This concept (Media Visibility) is being used both private and public companies and departments as a surrogate for primary market research such as surveys and to corroborate other types of analysis in activities such as program evaluations and benchmarking. The presenter will review the method, tools, and present a case study.

This presentation will provide the audience with a new approach to get an understanding of public opinions on issues, programs, or brands via media scanning and content analysis.

This sounds interesting. It’s not something I’ve gotten my mind around. So I plan to attend to hear what Michael has to say.

What do you think? Is this a concept you’re familiar with? Do you subscribe to the notion that “media visibility” can be used as a surrogate for primary market research?

Third Tuesday Measurement Matters Agenda

The agenda for the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference has been published. Here’s the day’s schedule:

8:00 Registration opens

8:30 Opening Keynote
Katie Paine, KD Paine and Associates

9:00 – 10:15 Panel: Monitoring: How to set up and run your social media command centre
Martin Waxman, Chair

Sheldon Levine, Sysomos
Ryan Strynacta, Radian6
Pragya Dubey, MediaMiser

10:15 – 10:35 PostRank: Leading Edge Solutions to Social Media Measurement Challenges
Carol Leaman and Ilya Grigorik

10:35 – 10:55 Break

10:55 – 12:10 Panel: New metrics for new media – influence, engagement, resonance – and others?
Mark Evans, Chair

Darren Barefoot, Capulet
Brian Cugelman, AlterSpark
Ilya Grigorik, PostRank

12:10 – 12:30 Traackr: Leading Edge Solutions to Social Media Measurement Challenges
Pierre-Loic Assayag

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:45 – 15:00 Panel: Analysis – more than skin deep – how to find real meaning

Terry Fallis, Chair

Claude Théoret, Nexalogy
Patrick Gladney, Social Currency
Rob Clark, Edelman

15:00 – 15:20 Radian6: Leading Edge Solutions to Social Media Measurement Challenges

David Alston

15:20 – 15:35 Break

15:35 – 16:50 Panel: Show us your ROI – Yes, we can demonstrate a return.

Donna Papacosta, Chair

Charles Funk, CNW/DNA13
Scott Lake, Swix
Christopher Berry, Syncapse

16:50 – 17:30 What’s next? What keeps the providers of Measurement and Metrics awake at night?
Katie Paine, Chair
Carol Leaman, PostRank
David Alston, Radian6
Pierre-Loic Assayag, Traackr

17:30 – 19:00: Reception and Cash Bar

Still some places open for participants

There are a small number of spots still open the conference. You can register online to attend Third Tuesday Measurement Matters.

We couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors: CNW Group, Rogers Communications, MolsonCoors Canada, Radian6 and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. You have stood by us. Your contributions make it possible for us to focus on organizing and programming without having to worry whether we’ll be on the hook for hard costs. Thank you. Third Tuesday wouldn’t happen without you.

Wanted: One more social media measurement provider to put in the spotlight

The Third Tuesday Measurement Matters #TTMM conference will put three social media monitoring and analysis providers on the spot and in the spotlight.

Each will be asked to tell us about a social media measurement challenge they set out to solve and how they did it. And then, we’ll ask them to look ahead and tell us what challenges they think must be overcome in the next year(s).

We have confirmed the first two monitoring and measurement providers who will be put in the spotlight: Radian6 and PostRank.

Radian6 was on the leading edge of developing an algorithm and index to measure influence. PostRank linked its fortune to the concept of engagement. Both have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to research and constant improvement of their monitoring and measurement suites. Clearly, they belong in the spotlight.

We have room in the spotlight for one more company. And I’d welcome your views about who it should be.

Which social media measurement platform do you think is on the leading edge of social media measurement? Which do you think have tackled a tough challenge and come up with an approach that is worth sharing?

Leave a comment on this post and help shape the agenda of Third Tuesday Measurement Matters #TTMM.

After all, if you want to understand the state of the art, why not ask those who are investing their money to explore it?

Registration is open for the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference

Registration is open for the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters #TTMM conference, to be held in Toronto on September 28.

A stellar roster of speakers

Attendees at Third Tuesday Measurement Matters will meet, hear from and participate in discussions with social media measurement experts, including Katie Paine, Carol Leaman, Ilya Grigorik, Charles Funk, Marcel LeBrun and David Alston (tentative), Sheldon Levine, Josh Hallett, Claude Théoret, Pragya Dubey, Scott Lake, Leona Hobbs, Darren Barefoot, Rob Clark, Brian Cugelman, Christopher Berry,  and Patrick Gladney.

A stellar lineup of speakers. And there are more who we anticipate will confirm their attendance during the next week.

A word about cost

The registration fee will be $125 per person. That’s more than we charge for most Third Tuesday events. However, we have a full day’s rental on the hall, audio visual system, lights plus a lunch and two breaks to provide food and beverage.

Our aim is to break even on the cost of staging the actual conference. And we’ll do that with a combination of sponsorships and registrations.

We couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors

I hope you agree that this is one heck of a lot of conference for a fee that is far lower than you are used to paying. That’s the value of being community-oriented – and of having sponsors. They cushion the risk of mounting an event like this.

And we couldn’t do it without our sponsors. For the past year, we’ve been lucky to have some outstanding sponsors who have helped us to make this happen: CNW Group, Rogers Communications, MolsonCoors Canada, Radian6 and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. You have stood by us. Your contributions make it possible for us to focus on organizing and programming without having to worry whether we’ll be on the hook for hard costs. Thank you. Third Tuesday wouldn’t happen without you.

Still to come: Free admission for a lucky group of students

Social media measurement should be an essential part of every communication, marketing and business curriculum. Students stand to benefit greatly by attending Third Tuesday Measurement Matters. But not all of them will be able to afford it.

So we’ll be announcing a special zero admission fee for a lucky group of students. We’re in the final stages of finalizing a sponsor for the “$0 student fee” and we’ll make a separate announcement as soon as the details are worked out.

If you care about social media measurement

… this will be the conference of the year. So, I do hope that you’ll consider attending.

Which do you consider to be the "Best of Breed" Social Media Measurement Tools?

Help select the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters speakers

Today, I’m asking for your help in deciding which developers of social media measurement tools we should invite to speak at the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference.

If you could hear from the people behind the leading social media measurement tools talk about their approach to measurement, who would you most like to hear from?

Insight from the people who design measurement tools

We’ll provide an opportunity for the key architects of three of the leading social media measurement tools to speak at Third Tuesday Measurement Matters.

This won’t be a standard product sales pitch. Instead, we’ll ask the speakers to talk about the key social media measurement problems they set out to solve and the solution they’ve developed. We want to get insight into the leading edge of measurement. And we’ll also ask them to look ahead and give us some insight into the biggest social media measurement challenges they believe we must solve in the coming year.

Who would you like to hear from?

Which measurement providers do you consider to be the very best? What do they do especially well? What do you think we can learn from them?

Please give us your suggestions and opinions as a comment below.

Call for Speakers: Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference

We’re looking for suggestions for social media measurement experts to invite to speak at Third Tuesday Social Media Measurement Matters #TTMM conference.

Already, a number of speakers were suggested or volunteered in response to the initial announcement of the conference, including: Alan Chumley, Rob Clark, Jen Evans, Leona Hobbs, Jay Goldman, Brian Cugelman, Olivier Blanchard, Alex Brasil, Josh Hallett, Darren Barefoot, Claude Theoret, Paul Cowan, and Chris Berry.

It’s also been suggested that we invite someone from Gatorade. You’ll remember that they made quite a splash last month with their new social media mission control centre. I’m sure that they could offer insight and learnings from their experience with this.

The good people at Sysomos, MediaMiser and CNW Group/DNA13 also have offering to contribute their expertise.

Ideas that Break Through

We’ve all been to conferences where speakers’ presentations duplicate one another. Conferences where panelists presentations take up most of the time and leave little time for interaction and audience participation.

We want to avoid these problems by structuring the panels to maximize the time for questions and answers and interaction between panelists. After all, why bring together a group of the brightest people around if you don’t want them to interact with one another and the participants at the conference?

Each panelist will be asked to speak for ten minutes on a single issue or idea that he or she thinks is of paramount importance and will be asked to clearly state one big or actionable idea that we can all take away. Then, we’ll throw the discussion open to the floor, inviting your questions and comments. In this way, we hope to hear some great ideas and have plenty of time to discuss them and their implications.

Who would you like to hear from?

Our aim is to put together a conference that brings together the speakers that you want to hear from.

Who are the experts on social media measurement you follow? Who have you heard give a great presentation on measurement?

The doors are open wide to your suggestions and ideas. Please give us your suggestions as a comment on this post.

Third Tuesday Measurement Matters Preliminary Agenda

Yesterday, I talked about why we are holding the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference. Today, I’d like to talk about what that conference might look like. And I’d like to ask for your input into the preliminary agenda of the conference.

What and who?

Third Tuesday Measurement Matters will bring together social media measurement experts and technology leaders.

We have a full day to organize. I’m proposing a single track so that we all share the same experience. That also keeps things simple and makes it easier to find a suitable venue.

Who then should we hear from? I think we should have a mix of

  • Experts who can talk about how to approach the challenge of measuring social media. What should we be measuring? What metrics should we be applying in what situations?
  • Measurement suite vendors who will provide practical demonstrations of the leading edge measurement tools. This should give us insight into what is possible now. And we should ask them to provide a preview of their development plans so that we can look ahead at how measurement will evolve in the near future.

Preliminary Agenda

The agenda will feature a series of panels of experts discussing key social media measurement issues. Between panels, the leading social media measurement suites will be demonstrated and we’ll hear about their strengths and development plans.

8:30 Opening Keynote

9:00 – 10:15 Panel: Monitoring: How to set up and run your social media command centre

10:15 – 10:35 Social Media Measurement Suite Demo 1

10:35 – 10:55 Break

10:55 – 12:10 Panel: New metrics for new media – influence, engagement, resonance – and others?

12:10 – 12:30 Social Media Measurement Platform/Tools Demo 2

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch & Keynote

13:45 – 15:00 Panel: Analysis – more than skin deep – how to find real meaning

15:00 – 15:20 Social Media Measurement Platform/Tools Demo 3

15:20 – 15:35 Break

15:35 – 16:50 Panel: Show us your ROI – Yes, we can demonstrate a return.

16:50 – 17:30 Closing Plenary – Participants talk about the best insights of the day

Theme sessions will feature three or four panelists. Each panelist will be asked to speak for five minutes on a single issue or idea that he or she thinks is of paramount importance and will be asked to clearly state one big or actionable idea that we can all take away. That will leave almost an hour in each panel for questions and discussions with participants.

The Measurement Suite Demos will feature three different leading-edge measurement suite vendors. We’ll ask vendors to avoid giving a standard sales pitch. We’ll ask them instead to talk to us about their approach to measurement – what metrics do they apply and what algorithms and measurement techniques do they use. We’ll also ask them to conclude by providing us with their views on the developments in measurement that they think we should watch for in the next year.

Does this work for you?

What do you think of this proposed approach? How can we improve it? Are there other topics we should address? What do you think of inviting leading edge vendors?

I’d like to hear from you. So, please leave a comment to discuss the ideas I’ve advanced in this post.

Announcing the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters Conference

We’re kicking off the fifth season of Third Tuesday Toronto (#TTT) with something special: a day long conference on social media measurement.

Third Tuesday: Measurement Matters conference (#TTMM), Sept. 28, 2010

“Are we there yet?” “How much longer before we arrive?” Every vacationing parent recognizes these words as the first expression of our need to know where we are and what progress we’re making.

Measurement matters. It’s how we know whether our efforts are having any impact. It’s how we know whether we’re making progress toward a goal or whether we’re stalled.

We measure what’s important to us. We measure to understand what is going on. We measure to provide insight into what works and what doesn’t.

Measurement really matters in emerging and fast changing fields. And social media is a field that is evolving rapidly. Evolving in participation, as it transforms from something for early adopters to a part of mainstream life. Evolving as new tools and platforms proliferate. Evolving as people adopt it and find new uses for it.

Anyone who uses social media for their work or is serious about it must understand what we can and should measure and how we can do it.

That’s where Third Tuesday Measurement Matters comes in.

A discussion of best practices and leading edge thinking

Many smart people are spending a lot of effort figuring out measurement methodologies and developing new metrics and measurement tools. They’re developing insight into the nature of participation in social media and the new patterns of social interaction. They’re developing new metrics to measure these new interactions. And they’re developing suites of tools that enable us to monitor, measure and analyze what’s going on in social media.

We’ll be inviting leading experts in social media measurement and companies who are developing the measurement tools to participate in Third Tuesday Measurement Matters. They’ll talk about the measurement challenges we face and offer their thoughts on how we should tackle these challenges. They’ll also demonstrate the best tools we can use to measure social media.

Help us shape the conference that you’d like to attend

We want this conference to deal with the issues that interest you and answer the questions that matter to you. So, we want your input into what we should discuss and who you think has insight to offer on the important issues.

In the coming days, I’ll post a preliminary agenda and ask for input on the topics that you’d like to discuss and the speakers you’d like to hear from.

Check back here in the next few days for more information and your opportunity to shape the agenda and lineup of speakers.

Third Tuesday Measurement Matters (#TTMM), Toronto, September 28, 2010.