Be careful about how much efforts you put on Twitter

After many experiments to increase engagement with brands on Twitter, I have collected enough evidence that Twitter is not worth much. From now on, the main focus of my social media marketing efforts will be other channels like Reddit, Hacker News, LinkedIn and other well targeted forums. My Twitter efforts are now down to the bottom of pile, down with Facebook (which doesn’t drive anything for the brands I’ve managed).

Massive increase in acquisition from social, most from Reddit and Hacker News

When I managed the launch of DreamHost DreamCompute, Twitter was a crucial part of the social media mix. We ran a small ad campaign on it with the objective to drive early signups to the cloud. Another ‘organic’ campaign revolved around  DreamCompute’s nomination as finalist in OpenStack Superuser Awards, with hashtag #makecloudgreatagain and a micro-site cloning what looked like a joke towards a political campaign (in hindsight, not funny). The results of the Twitter campaign were impressive by Twitter standards: lots of retweets and comments, DreamHost account gained new followers. But from the business indicators, we got almost nothing: the high Twitter engagement drove little spurs of traffic to web properties and no conversions. I blamed the website for being poorly optimized for conversion and concluded that Twitter can be useful to drive traffic and that call to actions need to be optimized for mobile in order to get business results.

In my next experiment at DreamHost I played with Hacker News. After a couple of attempts, I lucked out and got a blog post on HN front page for a few hours: that drove traffic! Lots of traffic and a much better conversion rate than other sources. I learned that the results/effort ratio is so much higher for Hacker News but hitting the front page is obviously a hit-and-miss.

Fast-forward a couple of years, I started a new social media experiment mix for Zenko . The results are in and LinkedIn, Reddit and Hacker News are a much bigger generator of traffic to our website than Twitter. For example, posts on LinkedIn either from the official Scality account or personal profilestend to have a long shelf life, opposed to the very very short live of tweets. New posts on Hacker News and Reddit are usually short lived, few hours but they tend to drive an insane amount of traffic, even if they’re not voted up at all. Also visitors from Reddit and HN tend to bounce less and read more than one page. The few visitors from Twitter instead have a high bounce rate and rarely go beyond one page visit.

My experience with Zenko and DreamCompute tells me that Twitter shouldn’t be the first social media channel but rather LinkedIn, Reddit and Hacker News are more worth the time. Twitter is something you have to play with and may only be worth it for real-time interactions, like during events to drive traffic to a booth or a speaking session.

Mozilla blew it with the Mr. Robot add-on

I trust Mozilla to do the right things… in general. I trust so much that I agree to share Firefox telemetry data to its server. I trust Mozilla to hold my traffic data, bookmarks etc with Sync. The thing is that I remember being informed of those options the first time I start Firefox on a new machine. Trusting Mozilla and Firefox is a choice I make, even if it’s the default one.

I didn’t like waking up and reading that Mozilla partnered with a TV show and silently installed an add-on on my computer. I don’t care what that add-on does: Mozilla sneaked it in on my computer. I don’t remember seeing any notification upon restarting Firefox, like “Hey, we partnered with XYZ Corp to collect anonymous data and do something great with it” or “Sorry, we just need to make money… It’s all good, we keep everything private as usual and no marketing bozos will bother you… Do you mind not changing the default and let this add-on run?

Mozilla blew it today and as a result, no more ‘Studies’ from me. Just disable them in about:preferences#privacy:

Wii U is a step backward for Nintendo

Nintendo presented the new gaming console and a new business strategy. The first thing that struck me is the silly name: I don’t get it, sounds primitive, too many vowels. Try to say it out loud and tell me it sounds good.

Then I saw the controller and the demos: WOW! Not. The Wii was a masterpiece of human interaction design: simple and effective, it expanded gaming to a whole new set of gamers. Its simplicity was the distinctive feature that allowed Nintendo to stay in the market. Wii U’s controller instead seems hard, complex and confusing. Look at the picture below: which screen should you be watching? All those buttons… how should be holding that thing: flat? vertical?

More puzzling it’s the marketing choice to go back to the crowded space where the leaders are PS3 and Xbox. Why would Nintendo decide to leave its lucrative new niche and go back to fight directly against Sony and Microsoft?

Why is Asus selling bad customer experience?

When I read that Asus announced to ship three new models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu I was excited. Then I went on to read the full announcement and I found out ath

NETBOOK INNOVATOR Asustek has announced that it will ship three models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu 10.10 preinstalled.

It will ship Ubuntu’s older version, 10.10 while now we are at 11.04. So the first thing that Asus customers will see when they boot the machine and connect it to the internet is a cute screen that says “There is a new version of your operating system. Do you want to upgrade?” What? I just spent $ for this new system and it’s obsolete? And it’s not going to be a simple system update or a ‘service pack’: it’s a whole new version of the OS, different GUI and more.

If they’re selling these machines at the Ubuntu (or general GNU/Linux) fans there is no problems as we’re used to fast upgrades. But if Ubuntu and Asus are aiming at Windows users, as it seems, I think they have to make an effort not to welcome their new customers with a message that can be read as:

Welcome! You just bought an obsolete system!

That’s poor customer experience.

via Asus will preload ubuntu linux on three eee pcs- The Inquirer.

La F§uffa su Facebook della Moratti danneggia tutto il settore

Da professionista di marketing continua a darmi fastidio la tempesta che sta agitando l’Italia. Se questi sono i professionisti del settore in Italia non mi stupisce che gli investimenti su Internet e social media non decollino.

Secondo la mia ricostruzione, la storia inizia con Pierotaglia su FriendFeed con questo commento:

Certo che la Moratti su Facebook deve aver fatto dei miracoli per passare da 3000 fan a 24.700 in soli tre giorni

Un’interpretazione del risultato viene da Francesco M. che dice:

dalla scorsa settimana hanno una nuova agenzia che li segue, The Fool di Matteo Flora, questo è anche il nuovo social-sito http://www.mirispondi.it/Francesco M.

Matteo Flora prova a spiegare la crescita miracolosa dei fan dando qualche dettagli, vantandosi pure un po’:

Qualche dato (come promesso) suiFan: spiacente ma niente magheggi, nulla di più che una seria campagna targettizzata sul cluster territoriale. Peraltro se guardate bene come la controparte. Secondo me (ma non ho le cifre di nessuno dei due) l’effort “per fan”” è consimile, solo su differenti durate. Ho visto campagne da 50/60K fan die. Avevamo opportunità di accorpare ma non ci è sembrato il caso. Ovvio, molti sono li per essere ostili e ci sono centinaia di insulti pesantissimi all’ora che rimuoviamo per puro decoro. – Matteo Flora

Nessun magheggio, dice. E più sotto specifica:

@Max: Quello che ci è stato chiesto è una infrastruttura per diramare informazioni e per gestire FanPage e contenuti. Non vengo pagato per acquisizione fan. Quello è lavoro di Advertising. – Matteo Flora

Poi però accade che qualcuno si accorge che qualcosa non quadra e trova siti civetta con codice truffaldino. Bak su Friendfeed e altri di cui ho già parlato. Al che Flora scatta ma continua a non dare dettagli, oltre a dire che lui non c’entra:

Due precisazioni: NON seguiamo e NON ABBIAMO mai seguito la parte di advertising (nè di performance Marketing). E oltretutto mi sento di poter affermare abbastanza tranquillamente che non sia opera della società incaricata che è seria e competente e si è dichiarata disposta a mostrare precise statistiche. Credo che sia l’ennesima #sucate per mostrare un lato falso della vicenda. – Matteo Flora

e  si innervosisce pure:

Devo rammentarvi che accuse verso la società che rappresento non motivate DOVRANNO risultare in azioni volte alla nostra tutela. – Matteo Flora

Più tardi il comitato della Moratti si ‘dissocia dalle scorrettezze in campagna web‘ e, in stile mafioso, non fa nomi. Dice solo che

Le operazioni di pubblicità Online sono sempre state condotte secondo le norme e le modalità prescritte da Facebook affidando l’incarico ad una primaria società di settore

Anche The Fool, l’azienda di Flora, si dissocia… Tutti possono sbagliare, però in tutto questo finora non ho trovato nessuno che si è scusato, nessuno che ha detto ‘abbiamo capito cosa è successo e non lo faremo più’. Ho letto sono ‘non sono stato io’.

Lo spettacolo è davvero poco edificante. Ma poi, che senso ha raccogliere Fan in modo così inorganico? Tutta la letteratura in materia consiglia di lavorare per avere una crescita organica di lettori, fan, follower, “expression vs impression“, ecc.  E pensare che mi ero scandalizzato solo per aver notato Michele Coppola candidato sindaco creare un account nuovo su Twitter solo per la campagna elettorale: chi gliel’avrà consigliata sta mossa?

Intel desperate to further Meego

I spent a few hours listening to Intel’s presentation about Meego and the new app store (another) from Intel. AppUp, the name of the store, is just another store. The only new thing that I remember is that AppUp allows to integrate other stores into this store… For example, if you published an app on AppUp, this will also appear on BestBuy’s app store. Not sure what to make of that: as with many other features of the afternoon, I and others in the audience were not impressed.

Intel will review and validate every app submitted in the store and, contrary to Apple’s total opacity, they have published the validation guidelines. The validation process will take ‘at most’ 7 business days and every updated version of the app will have to go through the validation process again. The developers in the room didn’t like that: it’s a huge problem because if your release has a bug, it may take over a week to send a fix to your users.

Admittedly, this validation process is a hard nut to crack but one would expect that a new app store would at least try. I would suggest Intel to give up the subjective control on the ‘objectionable content’ and relegate porn material in a section of the store behind an additional credit card. I would make this section graphically anonymous and before anybody can access it, they have to enter a credit card number, all the time. Developers that publish bad content out of the porn-wall are permanently banned. Fool proof? No, but neither is the existing system with Apple constantly under fire for its decisions to pass or block apps.

My advice: put automatic checks in place for malware and trust your developers until they screw it up. You can also imagine a crowdsourced moderation system after the publication of the app. A model based on trust may not work but at least it would give Inte’s AppUp a differentiating factor compared to the leading stores.

By the way, if you are developing a sync application, port it to Meego and enter the contest for Best App to Stay in Sync at Intel AppUp(SM) developer program.

Turn your next marketing campaign an “expression campaign”

A very good piece of advice from Coca-Cola’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, shifting from measuring consumer’s expressions instead of impressions.

  • Accept that consumers can generate more messages than you ever could
  • Develop content that is “Liquid and Linked”
  • Accept that you don’t own your brands; your consumers do
  • Build a process that shares successes and failures quickly throughout your company
  • Be a facilitator who manages communities, not a director who tries to control them
  • Speak up to set the record straight, but give your fans a chance to do so first

With the ambitious objective to double its business by 2020, Coca-Cola’s leaders know that they can only reach it leveraging its powerful community.

I wouldn’t work as community manager for Coca-Cola but if you have ambitious business and marketing objectives this is the way to go.

Read the full Coca-Cola Marketing Shifts from Impressions to Expressions – Joe Tripodi – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.

First thing: Love your community

I’m glad that

Compiere certainly did not fail due to its technology. It failed due to lack of sales and marketing expertise, execution and the wrong bet to “upgrade” open source minded partners and customers to a traditional, commercial model.

Compiere’s experience shows that it’s very difficult to change the terms of an existing relationship with your community, developers/contributors and channel. It’s not enough to balance proprietary and open source components but you also need to keep the whole ecosystem happy while doing so. You need to make sure your community feels your love: that’s what Compiere failed to do.

via Compiere Open Source failed? (Compiere from the Source).