Written for B2B Marketing Magazine

Wow! The last few weeks have been mad busy in the social world. Google Pages for Google+ launched and it sounds like everybody and their mother has created a page. With a different set of functions to its Facebook counterpart it will be interesting to see how companies start to tailor their tactics to fit this new channel. Google has also, finally, released Google+ to apps users (their biggest advocates).

LinkedIn has just launched analytics for its groups and, interestingly, has opened it up for everyone to see rather than just group managers. In its current form it’s looking like a big infographic, but is certainly already valuable, informing you about paid media spend within LinkedIn, and I’m sure it will only get better as time goes on.

The other item on the agenda for me over the last few weeks has been analytics. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend Adobe’s launch of their Social Analytics platform at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. The venue was very prestigious and the free event (which I’d been told had been over-subscribed) was close to capacity. It was set to be a very interesting day, especially as Adobe have promised to bring “Business Results to Social Media”. What this means is they are working to marry social activity with hard business metrics, using both causation – for example, a link placed in a social channel lead through to a sale – and correlation – for example, seeing the impact of social media conversations on sales. You can see the impact it has had on these sales. Why can they do this? Well mainly because the can close the loop with their onsite analytics software.

“Finally!” I think was the first thing I said – enterprise-level software that is actually delivering hard metrics and not just “listening”. Now that said they still have a little way to go; currently it doesn’t look like there is any method of engaging or managing content within the system that the likes of Buddy Media and Involver have, but I can imagine Adobe will want to enter into that fray very soon to put them in front of the competition.

At the event Facebook presented their opinion on increasing customer engagement, driving sales and ROI, which unfortunately felt a little like a pitch to buy Facebook advertising and use their native functionality, rather than discussing some of the best practices they have seen on its site.

Much of the focus at the event was based around the consumer market place, as it’s quite easy to track activity against sales when the end goal is a purchase. Unfortunately, the line blurs a little more in the B2B environment. That said, SocialAnalytics does an excellent job of joining up your social activity to all your web metrics, which means you can accurately track end-to-end activity online, which will show your lead generation and sales funnel. You can then look at how to spread your word further, widening the top of the funnel by finding influencers and then optimising your content around the conversation to increase conversion.

One final point worth mentioning, from Mike Quinn, Product Marketer at Adobe, was that the gap between why people follow brands and what businesses want to communicate is vast! The number one incentive for followers and customers is to receive offers, while the business places importance on teaching people about new products. We must look at a method of closing this gap to drive interest in our brands.

I’d say that other social analytics platforms definitely have some competition from Adobe’s offering, which is backed by a heritage in enterprise software. From what I can gather, Adobe’s product will only be getting stronger in offering. Definitely worth watching a demo video, if nothing else, which they have promised will be coming soon.

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