Hashtag Analytics: which college football team out-hashed the competition?

By Dr. Todd Bacile | December 10, 2013

Social Media Analytics

Twitter HashtagsA winner can be determined between the hash marks — and the hashtags.  This past weekend marked several high-profile NCAA football conference championship games. Your team may have won or lost on the field, but how did it fair in its social media fan engagement? Using the analytic tools at Topsy, I conducted a high-level analysis to assess hashtag frequency on game day: 12/7/2013. I wanted to answer one question: how much did the different fan bases Tweet about their teams?

A Hashtag is a form of demarcation and a method to link content on a specific topic within social media. An analysis of certain hashtags has some business value to brands and organizations. One example is share of voice on social media: how one brand stacks up against another brand’s social media chatter by consumers.

The below statistics and charts are a hashtag analysis with a few confounds, such as #OSU representing Ohio State University and / or Oklahoma State University. These confounds were accounted for to a degree by using alternative hashtags for some teams. It’s also possible for a rival team’s fan base to tweet about a competitor. Nonetheless, the depicted results below make for an interesting conversation, while illustrating hashtag analytics 101.

Auburn vs. Missouri

Auburn won the game and the battle of the hashtag. The #Auburn tweets tallied 55,555 compared to 3,937 for #Missouri.

#Auburn vs #Missouri

Florida State vs. Duke

The Seminoles trounced the Blue Devils on the field — and on the hashtag — en route to the opportunity to win a national championship. #FSU scored 21,990 tweets compared to 5,295 tweets for #Duke.

#FSU vs #Duke

Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

This was a bitter rivalry to begin with! Oklahoma pulled the upset on the field, yet lost on Twitter: #Oklahoma came up short with 3,649 tweets compared to 8,368 for #OkState. It was an even worse beating if you count some of the 17,936 tweets for #OSU (although some must be attributed to Ohio State University tweets).

#Oklahoma vs #OkState

Stanford vs. Arizona State

Stanford won big on the field but came up short on Twitter: #ASU’s 6,471 tweets edged #Stanford’s 3,486.

#Stanford vs #ASU

Texas vs. Baylor

Baylor shellacked Texas on the field. However, the tweet-off is more unclear. On the one hand #Baylor’s 6,651 tweets easily beat #UT’s 1,034 tweets. On the other hand #Texas produced 8,009 tweets.

#Baylor vs #UT vs #Texas

Ohio State vs. Michigan State

This was arguably the best game on Saturday, with the underdog Michigan State knocking of Ohio State. It was also a very close hashtag contest. #MSU’s 24,593 tweets topped #OSU’s 17,936, but there is a possible confound: some of the #OSU tweets were probably meant for Oklahoma State. #OhioState’s 15,063 tweets topped #MichiganState’s 8,635. Who won? I’m calling this one for Michigan State: a tally of the two Spartan-related hashtags (33,228) barely tops the two Buckeye-related hashtags (32,999).

#MSU vs #OSU

Any surprises?

Dr. Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is an Electronic Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans by day and a college football fan by night/weekends. He holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Have a question or comment? Post it here and you will receive a response.

Infographic: 11 Amazing Text Message Marketing Stats

By Dr. Todd Bacile | November 29, 2013

SMS Marketing Statistics

Text Message Marketing Benefits

SMS Infographic Header Image

Consumers use text messaging in their everyday personal communications. Yet, promotional text message marketing (a.k.a. SMS marketing) does have a place in consumers’ lives!

Using mobile for marketing purposes is evolving. QR codes have their uses in the right situations. Mobile showrooming is creating new challenges and opportunities. Mobile apps are currently experiencing massive growth. Yet, a simple 160-character (or less) text message can be a powerful marketing tool. Checkout these 11 statistics in the infographic below:

Text Message Marketing Infographic

Are you ready to begin an SMS campaign?

Dr. Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans and holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Have a question or comment? Post it here and you will receive a response.

Social Media Marketing & Mobile Marketing: A Useful Resource Guide

By Dr. Todd Bacile | August 27, 2013

social media books

A question posed to me from a fellow professor last week was, “What books or resources would you recommend for new media marketing topics?” The following books in each subject area highlight marketing philosophies and paradigm shifts that social media and mobile technologies have introduced. I personally have read each of the resources below and see great value in each book.

Follow the Authors on Twitter

Following each book’s summary is a link to the Twitter account(s) for the author(s). If you want more information or have comments for the authors you can connect with them on Twitter!

Connected Consumers

The End of Business as Usual presents a complex “connected consumer” revolution that is taking place. Ubiquitous mobile connections and social networks have created a network economy and interest graphs, where consumers easily share experiences and influence others. The author, Brian Solis, points out that a firm’s marketing audience has now become an audience with an audience of audiences, among many other unique perspectives.

Socialnomics posits that social media has created a people-driven economy through connected networks. The author, Eric Qualman, makes several interesting points, while serving up memorable quotes such as, “The 30-second commercial is being replaced by the 30-second review, tweet, post, status update, and so on.”

Information Transparency

Youtility shows the reader how helpful, useful, relevant information supplied by a firm is turning traditional marketing upside-down. The author, Jay Baer, uses several useful statistics and easy-to-read charts to support his positions. There is business value in these numbers!

Influence Marketing with Social Scoring

Return On Influence presents the topic of social scoring metrics such as Klout and PeerIndex. The author, Mark Schaefer, is well known for his social influence consulting work and discussing Klout on his blog. Influence marketing is controversial for some people and often creates a lot of buzz. This book illustrates how influence and social media go hand-in-hand. In effect, “Influence has been democratized.”

Second Screen Marketing

Social TV shows that the internet has not killed TV. Instead, this book posits that the internet has become TV’s best friend! Examples and cases illustrate TV programs are social; and in combination the web, social media, and mobile devices serve as the second-screen lightning rods to amplify consumer-to-consumer conversations about TV shows. The authors, Mike Proulx and Stacey Shepatin, use strategically placed and QR codes to link to “bonus” content.

Social Media Marketing 101

Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach is geared toward a college course, with a nicely designed array of chapters focusing on social media marketing strategy and planning. The book contains an eight-step social media marketing plan model, along with a completed plan for a fictitious company. The authors are Melissa Barker, Donald Barker, Nicholas Bormann, and Krista Neher.

Mobile Marketing 101

Go Mobile presents a nice array of mobile marketing strategies and topics that any marketer should be familiar with. Mobile optimized ads, SMS campaigns, mobile apps, tablet computing, and location-based marketing examples are plentiful.  The authors, Jeanne Hopkins and Jaime Turner, have a chapter devoted to how several Fortune 500 firms use mobile marketing.

Fundamentals of Mobile Marketing: Theories and Practices is a nice supplement to the prior text. This book delves into a highly technical summary of mobile’s evolution, along with several academic theories and models prevalent to ubiquitous devices. The author, Shintaro Okazaki, is a widely published European marketing professor.

E-Commerce

E-Commerce 2013 is a detailed text delving into the world of E-Commerce, in more detail and in a manner much different from all of the other social and mobile books discussed in this post.  While this book presents many cases and chapter information that intertwines with social and mobile, the book is devoted to E-Commerce with a progression through an intro section, the technology infrastructure, business concepts, and E-Commerce in action. The authors are Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver.

The Microblogging Mindset

The Tao of Twitter is the best book I have found that steps a person through the beginning stages of learning to Tweet to advanced Twitter usage relevant to business goals and strategy. The author, Mark Schaefer, is the same author on this list for Return On Influence and Born to Blog.

Twitter Power also takes a humorous – and useful – look into Twitter. You know the book will have some fun content when you realize that the author, Joel Comm, was the inventor of the iFart app.

The Blogging Mindset

Born to Blog  walks the reader through the beginning stages – and struggles – people may have when blogging. It then progresses to tips and writing techniques needed to become a successful blogger, regardless of your industry. The book contains several personal experiences of the blogging challenges and triumphs that the authors, Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith, have gone through.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive for the sake of maintaining brevity in a single blog post. There are many other excellent resources available; and in many other topic areas. What books have you found useful to navigate social and/or mobile media?

Dr. Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans and holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Florida State University. He teaches Electronic Marketing and Advanced Marketing Strategy.  Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Have a question or comment? Post it here and you will receive a response.

Mobile Showrooming in the Age of Information Transparency (Part 2 of 2)

By Dr. Todd Bacile | July 29, 2013

mobile showroomingSynopsis: showrooming is a new challenge that brick-and-mortar retailers are sizing up as a threat. However, this phenomenon must become an accepted part of retail business models in the era of empowered consumers and ubiquitous information. In this two-part post showrooming is juxtaposed to the power of firms versus consumers in the traditional business model and the modern day’s changing information economy. Click here to read Part one.

The Information Economy

Showrooming is one of many phenomenon to cause a seismic shift in the current information economy. Many people think of an economy as goods and services exchanged between firms and consumers. However, an economy also exists for the exchange of information. An information economy is transparent when all information is easily available on-demand.

Web 1.0 was a colossal shift in media, where additional information was available to the masses of consumers. However, in the Web 1.0 environment firms still had much control over the type of information made available online. Easy-to-use publishing tools and social networks had not yet evolved to allow consumers to easily share information. True information transparency was absent.

The shift to Web 2.0 (and Web 3.0) was a major move toward a transparent information economy. Suddenly, all information – any type of information – about even the most remote goods or services could be shared, tweeted, blogged, yelped, pinned, and published by consumers. The all-inclusive power firms had over available information was now supplanted by the power of connected consumers. In effect, consumers are now driving an information economy based on transparency.

The Political Economy of Information

The political economy of information is an early theory researchers discussed concerning the power of information. In this context, “political” is not related to governmental elections. Greek philosophers used the terms political and politics to mean the practice of influencing other people at the individual level. Stemming from this context is the use of the term “political” in social sciences, which represents the ability to influence the behavior of people in a social structure, such as consumers in a target market.

Traditional business models: The power of firms

These early definitions concerning the ability of one party to influence another party carried over well to a marketing and advertising context via mass media. In the early days of television and radio only the largest firms with available resources could afford broad marketing campaigns in these new media of the time. Like the old adage said,  “if it is on T.V. then it must be true,” was believed by many consumers to be a fact. That was power.

In a political economy of information, the group with more information has more power over a group with access to less information. In mass media, firms possessed and controlled more information over a less informed market of consumers. The balance of marketing power was heavily tilted toward companies.

Firms could control a message. Individual consumers could not add information to that message, except verbally in extremely small groups through word-of-mouth. Marketers were in control of information. That was the power possessed over a passive consumer audience. In an information economy, information is the power currency.

Modern day business models: The power of consumers

Showrooming, like connected consumers participating in social networks, is a major power shift from the boardrooms of firms to the mobile devices of consumers. A political economy of information still exists, only now it is consumers who often possess the power currency of more information (or are at least on par with firms). Any business models in use by firms in an attempt to stifle or control the power of connected consumers will be met with strong opposition.

In other words, firms clinging to a traditional business model mentality are failing to adapt to a new electronic business landscape. Such a failure to adapt new strategies will negatively affect the corporate bottom line.

Showrooming, online reviews, social media complaints, status updates, citizen influencers though PeerIndex and Klout, are a few examples of connected consumers creating and accessing more information about goods and services. Decades of firms using a power position to hold and control select information has come to an end in this new age of information transparency.

The Future of Marketing

To date, many firms are still struggling with their loss of power in a marketing and advertising context. Some of the strategies to respond to showroomers, such as price matching, support the philosophy of information transparency. However, a price war may not be the answer. Other strategies, such as information blackout, support a power-play attempt by firms to regain information control. Both types of strategies are not optimal.

One outlook from a noted expert reveals what firms must seek in new marketing strategies moving forward. Lin Humphrey is a mobile marketing researcher, marketing doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University, and was recently awarded the Mobile Marketing Academic of the Year by the Mobile Marketing Association. Speaking specifically about showrooming Lin stated via e-mail, “It’s shifted the power back to the consumer, which forces brands to be more competitive. Price guarantees, easy return policies, added values such as additional warranties at no cost are all things that retailers should be playing up (because the internet retailers are playing on price).”

The key is to offer value-added services. Price matching is a nice move by retailers, but a pure price war between brick and mortar retailers and internet retailers is a war to be won by online firms. As the digital information economy evolves, firms will need to implement strategies other than simple price matching tactics or an attempt to control information access. Create value-added services, value that consumers recognize, and market these added services. That is how to respond to showrooming.

This was part two of a two-part of a showrooming post. You can read part one here.  Comments are welcome!

Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a showroomer in his free time and a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He holds a PhD in Marketing from Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Questions and comments are welcome.

Mobile Showrooming in the Age of Information Transparency (Part 1 of 2)

By Dr. Todd Bacile | July 25, 2013 | Showrooming Part 1 | Part 2

mobile showroomingSynopsis: showrooming is a new challenge that brick-and-mortar retailers are sizing up as a threat. However, this phenomenon must become an accepted part of retail business models in the era of empowered consumers and ubiquitous information. In this two-part post showrooming is juxtaposed to the power of firms versus consumers in the traditional business model and the modern day’s changing information economy.

Showrooming

Statistics show that close to 70% of consumers showroom in a retail store. Out of the consumers who do showroom, close to 25% will purchase the product from a different source if they save 5%-10%. Due to these facts showrooming is being met with combative strategies by firms.

To be clear, showrooming is the act of consumers visiting brick-and-mortar stores and scanning bar codes with a mobile device in an effort to find more information – and perhaps purchase – the product from a competing online retailer. I believe some anti-showroom strategies are shortsighted and I will support this position using a real-world example.

A Showrooming Example

Pre-purchase consumer activity

A friend of mine invited me along in his quest to buy a BBQ smoker at a brick-and-mortar retailer (he knew I was a BBQ guy). Based on the store’s inventory he focused on one smoker in particular. I am a showroomer, so we scanned the bar code. Surprisingly, there was not a product match found by Google. I then typed in the brand and model number, yet found no matches.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew what was happening. Google is never stumped. Despite an inability to access to more online information sources, he made the purchase.

Post-purchase consumer activity

A few days later he was upset. It seems he did some in-depth research after the fact and found a virtually identical product under a different brand name and model number. The highly similar smoker was less expensive.

He told me he felt cheated. He felt duped. He felt as if the brand restricting his access to information cost him his hard earned money. “I’m never going back to that store,” he told me.

Anti-Showroom Strategies

Information blackout: control

Smartphone information blackoutFirms using the strategy above, referred to as information blackout, need to consider the ramifications. Preventing access to information by the retailer in my example is an attempt to control what is usually seen as freely accessible information. Brands accomplish this by blocking cell signals in a retail store or by using custom bar codes that will not link to other products; and therefore, will not produce price comparison results.

Clever, but somewhat of a ruse.

This strategy is akin to the brand saying, “We control our product inventory. And we want to control any comparable information online that is available to you. This is our product in our store – you have no right to find more information in real-time.”

This is clearly a misguided strategy, one that may be beneficial at the single transaction-level, yet harmful for a brand at the cumulative-level sought in long-term relationships.

Information transparency: price matching

smartphone world iconAnother anti-showroom strategy is to price match competitors. This strategy illustrates information transparency – such as a price for a product – is becoming an accepted norm in the modern business landscape.

This strategy is akin to the brand saying, “We don’t care if you view product information and prices from competitors. Go ahead. You won’t find a better deal.” Transparency at its finest.

Older business models devised around a firm controlling available information to a less-powerful consumer audience are being supplanted by new models featuring information transparency. Relying on an older, controlling business model in the age of consumer empowerment and always-on connectivity is a fast method to losing customers.

Click here to read Part Two of this post.

Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a showroomer in his free time and a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He holds a PhD in Marketing from Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Questions and comments are welcome.

QR Codes helping your job search

By Dr. Todd Bacile |  July 22, 2013

QR Code for Todd BacileMuch has been made about the benefits QR codes have for marketers, but these small 2-D bar codes can also be used during your search for a new job. Below is a brief recap of my use of a QR code during my last job search. My search was industry specific (Marketing Professor), yet the principles are relevant to any type of job involving innovation or creativity. On top of building the desired skills hiring managers are seeking, using a QR code will help to promote a job applicant.

How to create a QR code

Creating a QR code is quick, easy, and free. Many companies offer free or pay-to-use QR code generators on the internet. I use Vizibility and will discuss its template as an example.

After you register for a free account Vizibility automatically generates a QR code for you. Right click on the QR code image to save it. Then you can insert/place the code on anything you choose, such as a résumé or business card.

The online template lets you setup what people see when they scan your QR code. Below is snapshot of my QR code’s landing page as viewed through a smartphone (note: I’ve elongated the screen size in this image to accommodate for scrolling).

My QR Code Landing Page

The landing page enables a person to click-to-call, text, or email me (you know… because I wanted to make it easy for an employer to contact me for an interview). There is also a feature enabling a person to view not only my LinkedIn profile, but also any mutual LinkedIn contacts we each have. The power of your network, endorsements, and recommendations can be beneficial here!

As a digital marketing researcher, consultant, and instructor I want prospective employers to have easy access to my online activity. My QR landing page does that: a single click takes a person to my blog, Twitter account, web site, a myriad of other social sites, and Google results.You do Google yourself and try to manage the links that appear in a SERP, correct?

My QR Code In-Action

Marketing Professor Job Search

This past year I took part in an annual process nearly all colleges and universities participate in: the marketing professor job market. For higher quality schools a Ph.D. is required of a job applicant, which drastically shrinks the pool of available talent, yet creates intense competition among the small number of academics. I wanted to stand out.

Marketing professors typically have a focused research and teaching area. My area is digital marketing and I decided to highlight this fact not only with my experience, but also with a QR code. A code was prominently displayed at the top of my curriculum vita (a.k.a my résumé). Below is a cropped image of my CV’s first page.

cropped CV with QR code

Personal Branding with a QR Code

Did it work?

Statistics published in the field show that most applicants on the Marketing Professor job market receive about a 19% interview response rate based on the number of applications sent out to hiring schools. My response rate was 38% – double the average.

The strong response was most likely not all due to a QR code – I’m sure the Klout in the classroom media coverage and social influence buzz helped – but, my QR code helped build my personal brand image of a digital marketer and helped differentiate myself from the applicant pool.

In fact, I know that one interview I received was solely based on my QR code – even though the department head at the school never scanned it. He called me to set up an interview and stated, “Out of the over 100 hundred job applications I received, yours was the only one that included a QR code.” When I asked what he thought about it, his response was surprising. “To be honest I do not own a smartphone, so I could not scan it. But, you stood out from the pack.”

Bonus Information

When your QR code is scanned

There is one final benefit of QR codes I would like to discuss. When your QR code is scanned, your support software can notify you of the exact time and location where your code was scanned. From a marketing perspective this is a goldmine (knowing when consumers interact with your information). From a job search perspective this was beneficial, too: I applied to schools in several different cities and had some degree of information as far as which schools may be interested in my services. Below are screen shot images from my Vizibility account.

QR Code Metrics

When I was notified my code was scanned, the Vizibility software not only stated, for example, “Tuscaloosa, Alabama” as depicted above, but also showed a GPS map. Clicking on Tuscaloosa displayed the University of Alabama’s campus (one of the schools I applied to).

QR Code Scan Map

Have you ever sent out numerous job applications and waited to hear back? Sometimes you never hear anything. With a QR code being scanned, you can be given information that your application was received; and the prospective employer has interacted with your information. This is helpful for two reasons. First, for peace of mind! Second, you have a “heads up” to prepare for a possible interview with that specific employer.

Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Yes, using the QR code did help him land a great job.  Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Aside from marketing and technology discussions, Todd enjoys talking about BBQ, college football, and baseball trivia. All comments and questions are welcome!

Smartphones… Now What? A Smartwatch?

By Logan Arnett and Todd Bacile | January 31, 2013

Pebble Smartwatch

A New Mobile Device

Pebble just might be the answer to the title’s question. The Pebble is a “smartwatch” that connects to iPhones or Androids via Bluetooth. The watch is customizable just like your smartphone with the various apps that are available in the “WatchApp” store.

The notion of wearable computer devices has been around a long time. Some of you may remember back in the early 1990s a company by the name of Xybernaut Corp. as an early pioneer of wearable computer devices. Demand for its products never took off and the company ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Perhaps this idea was before its time, considering that today’s mobile device functionality has greatly changed since the 1990s.

Back to the Pebble: the simplest apps will allow the user to customize the watch face display and the overall theme of the watch. From there the possibilities seem to be endless. The team behind the Pebble is releasing an Open SDK for app developers to use their creativity to test the limits of the watch.

Compatibility with Mobile Apps

The Pebble already boasts a strong base of applications. Fitness-based applications  for biking, running, and even a rangefinder for the golf course each use the GPS from your phone along with the built-in accelerometer to monitor your movement. There are numerous push-notifications (Facebook, Twitter, Weather Alerts) that you can set your watch to vibrate. If your hands are full during a task and someone calls, texts, or e-mails you, one quick glance at your wrist can tell you how urgent that notification is.

The Pebble can also be used to play music or even as a controller for your music apps. Put your iPhone on the dock to your speakers and you can change the song or control the volume from your wrist. This initial base of apps appears to cover the basics and only time will tell what unique designs and apps will come from this new platform.

Appearance and Display

The watch itself has a very sleek and stylish appearance. The Pebble is available in three colors; Arctic White, Jet Black, and Cherry Red, and a fourth color that is being voted on by the companies kickstarter backers. The screen /watch face does not appear to be bulky at all, which allows for more comfort.

You can view the time or your notifications on the E-Paper display, even in direct sunlight, and the battery can last for over seven days with the display being in constant use. The display uses a scratch and shatter resistant lens to go along with the anti-glare E-Paper screen. The Pebble is even water-resistant, but they have not determined the exact certification level for this.

Is the Pebble the future of the digital and social world? We will have to wait and see as this “smartwatch” progresses through the preliminary generations. There are already rumors of some complications with production of the Pebble, but the first 500 were shipped out to kickstarter backers on January 23, 2013.

What apps would you want on your “smartwatch?” Leave your comments below.

Logan Arnett is a Director of Sales, Marketing, and Social Media in the hospitality industry. He enjoys keeping up with and trying to find the future of digital trends. You can connect with him on Twitter @Logan_Arnett and LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/loganarnett/. Todd Bacile teaches Electronic Marketing at Florida State University and is one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. You can contact him on Twitter @toddbacile