Tag Archives: analysis

Subway ranks #1 for gaining currency on social media

Study highlights best performers but finds social media success doesn’t always correlate to better business results

Social Media Currency Index

An interesting study that puts Subway, Google, Heineken, Target and Verizon in the top five spots for “social currency” found that even brands that sustain buzz through social media struggle to translate that success into a better bottom line.

A Social Currency Impact Study, conducted by consulting firm Vivaldi Partners, attempted to measure how effectively brands engage their followers according to six criteria – utility, information, conversation, advocacy, affiliation and identity – to arrive at a ‘social currency’ score. Using these criteria, the study assessed the level of engagement for each brand and evaluated whether these brands are successful at converting social media behaviour into buying behaviour.

social currency graphic

Source: Report on Social media Currency Index, 2013

Marketing Daily posted a good report on the study that came to my attention through SmartBrief on Social Media.

According to its report, Vivaldi conducted 5,000 surveys in the U.S., U.K. and Germany drawing from a panel of “millions of consumers”, asking their perceptions about more than 60 brands with established social media programs.

The full report offers concise insights on what the top 25 brands do well on social media and concludes that “what works well for one brand does not work for another brand.”

(As a side note, I find it interesting that 10 of the top 25 brands highlighted in the survey are food and beverage companies, including Dunkin’ Donuts, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Corona, Coors Light, McDonald’s and Pepsi in addition to those mentioned above. Perhaps this indicates more people feel confident interacting with things they know well – food and drink – than with high tech and telecom products that are more difficult to understand.)

Quick Takeaways

Marketing Daily’s full article is well worth reading. Here are three things that struck me in the reported conclusions.

1. Cost: A key conclusion in Vivaldi’s report is that “achieving top scores in social currency and driving brand performance is expensive and requires continuous commitment and continuity…” Social media is not free. Publishing valuable content several times a day and monitoring it 24/7 is costly.

2. RIO: Marketing Daily’s article notes that “converting social media performance into business or brand results is not guaranteed,” even among the best social media performers. Vivaldi’s report concludes that “social media investments do not impact all categories equally, and some brands simply don’t benefit from social.” Given the cost of doing social well, this is not a finding social media directors for major brands will relish.

3. Serve, don’t sell: Why did Subway come out on top? The survey found that Subway is successful because it “continuously manages to sell promoted deals without pushing the advertising theme too far.” In the introduction to its report, Vivaldi states that “it is clear that using new technologies merely for the purpose of amplifying advertising campaigns, creating conversations on social channels, or building communities of influencers to connect with consumers or customers more often underwhelms and disappoints.” The message: Don’t think of it as advertising.

Creating content that people want to interact with is the key to keeping Subway’s audience highly engaged – and when was the last time you wanted to interact with an ad other than to change the channel? Despite the general conclusion that executing a social media strategy well won’t necessarily drive better business results, Vivaldi noted that Subway took the top spot because its social media presence does “impact on consumers in terms of consideration, purchase and loyalty”.

The “serve, don’t sell” mantra is equally important to Google’s social currency rating, which landed the tech company in second place. (Keep in mind that two of the six criteria Vivaldi uses are utility and information.) Marketing Daily says that “[Google’s] social currency success is based on its large portfolio or ecosystem of branded products that consumers access daily, including Google search, Gmail,  Google Maps, Youtube and Google Plus.” In other words, Google is prevalent. It is everywhere and indispensable. Similarly, Vivaldi’s report notes that Amazon (ranked #8) “drives social currency through its own website that is socially enabled rather than broad social network presence.”

Social media builds visibility and reputation

The findings offer mixed views on whether money spent on social media directly helps companies reach their marketing and business goals. Should we worry? I would argue the same can be said about traditional media relations that companies have viewed as essential for decades. It has always been hard to make a direct link between a positive media image, for example, and business success. But that has not stopped companies from believing that a good reputation in mainstream media is good for business, nor from spending the money to aggressively pursue it.

The need for companies to be highly visible and have a good reputation has not changed. The study suggests that Google has earned a high social currency ranking because its products are everywhere and indispensable. If that is true, then it stands to reason that creating valuable content every day that people want, or that allows them to do something they need to do, can’t hurt your business.

So why not use social media to amplify your efforts across the media spectrum  – paid, owned and earned – in order to have a shot at becoming a bigger player in your market over the long term?

That, my friends, may be as good as the argument for social media gets today. Being clear with clients or other groups within your company that social media can build visibility and strengthen reputation will help the right goals to be set for your social media programs.

In the future, we may find that the ROI of social media is the business intelligence it offers companies to hit the sweet spot with consumers. My sense is that few companies are there yet and most are not integrating social media feedback and data into how they conduct business. This debate is not over.

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/195883/subway-google-top-social-currency-ranking.html#ixzz2Nv5ud9Gb


Monitoring and measurement improve execution

With so many tools to choose from, finding the right one to dig into your social media results is easier said than done

Course: CDPR108, Ryerson University, Toronto
Week 10, November 18, 2012
This blog covers my weekly assignments and learning for Ryerson University’s Social Media in PR course, part of Ryerson’s well-respected public relations certificate program. Follow this blog through the fall 2012 semester as we move from A – Z in social media.

This week’s assignment was to investigate social media monitoring tools and explain their value for measuring a social web program. There are many, many monitoring tools out there, both free and paid, and choosing one that meets your company’s needs is going to take some work.

But it is work you must do – that is, if you intend to understand whether your social media efforts are making a difference for your company. Why is monitoring and analysis important?

1. The opportunity to continually improve execution is the main advantage for PR professionals. If we know what’s working, we can move forward.

2. Another major benefit of the better tools on the market is the ability to dig into demographic and geographic information to better understand your audience. As I’ve said before, knowing your audience drives everything in your social media program. The more you know, the better you can use social media to help meet your organization’s goals.

3. Social media moves quickly and can be terribly unforgiving. Insights from paid and free tools will help you stay on top of what’s happening and protect your company’s reputation. Paid services will obviously be more comprehensive and offer greater insights; however, even free tools will provide clues about which messages are getting noticed, on which channels, and whether there is a storm brewing that merits your attention.

I looked at Addict-o-matic and Ice Rocket – both free – and ReSearch.ly, a paid service that is integrated into PeopleBrowsr’s Playground platform.  I provided scores, which I admit are a bit unfair because they compare apples and oranges. That said, the ratings reflect my view of how well these tools would meet the needs of a PR professional working in corporate communications.


Carol’s score: 4/10

I gave Addict-o-matic  4/10 because in my view, it does less than half the job. This free tool gives you an instant snapshot of news, tweets, blogs, videos and other posts mentioning your brand or issue this minute, but it offers nothing in the way of analytics or trends.

Addict-o-matic website

Addict-o-,matic is dead simple and features a clean dashboard for search results.

On the plus side, I found Addict-o-matic dead simple to use. It quickly gave me results and categorized them neatly. The search capability is basic. My query turned up a mix of relevant and off-base news and content, but still allowed me to see where conversations were happening.

Users warn that Addict-o-matic is “far from comprehensive”. That’s true, but as far a free tools go, Six Revisions blogger Jason Schubring says “Addict-o-matic is one of the best free tools available for summarizing all your ‘buzz’ in one place.”

My comments:

  • Simple to use
  • Well organized dashboard
  • Each box has a helpful “more links” box that opens to a full page of readable information
  • Doesn’t monitor Facebook
  • No analytics
  • Website does a poor job of explaining what the tool covers and how it works
  • Oversells the ability to “customize” your search page

Ice Rocket

Carol’s score: 5/10

Ice Rocket offers advantages over bare-bones Addict-o-matic. It has been around for a long time, mostly living in the shadow of blog search tool Technorati.  Ice Rocket began as a blog search tool and branched out to Twitter, Facebook, images and video more recently. It was acquired by news monitoring service Meltwater Buzz in 2011.

Ice Rocket blog analytics

Ice Rocket can search multiple social streams but only offers trend reports for blogs. Reports cover up to three months.

As far as I can tell, Ice Rocket’s strength still lies in blogs. It offers basic analytics, such as trend reports for up to 3 months, for blogs but not other social streams. For this reason, Ice Rocket could complement other free tools in your monitoring kit that tap into Twitter and other hot platforms.

The tool has some nice features for Twitter too. It has the ability to trace activity on specific hashtags and links. It also tells you how many tweets are occurring per minute, hour or day, giving you a rough estimate of whether activity is moving up or down if you check it regularly.

My comments:

  • Allows blog searches by day, week or month
  • Offers trend reports for blogs but not other streams
  • Search blogs, Twitter, Facebook and images individually or click “Big Buzz” to get everything at once
  • Easy to use but you can’t do much with the information
  • Information on the search time period for Twitter, Facebook and other streams is not readily available, making it hard to estimate overall volume


Carol’s score: 7/10

ReSearch.ly is part of PeopleBrowsr, a social analytics company. It’s difficult to separate the two because Research.ly has a starring role in PeopleBrowsr’s platform.  What I can say is that this tool kicks the experience up several notches by allowing you to monitor, analyze and manage engagement with people and communities all in one place.

I gave it 7/10 because it appears to have terrific features. But it’s not immediately obvious that it goes beyond Twitter (after more investigation I found out that it does) and it requires a significant time investment to understand how it works.

Fortunately, free trials are available. That’s when you realize that ReSearch.ly is integrated into a whole platform that offers major monitoring, analytics and engagement management across the social web. Don’t expect to be an expert after 10 minutes.  This tool is complicated and overwhelming; however, my sense is that the time spent understanding it would be worth the effort. I suspect my score would have been higher given more time to investigate.

RySearch.ly is primarily a Twitter microscope touting its “1,000 days of data” (the “full firehose” also offered by Sysomos). It uses the data to create an individual’s “Kred”, an influence measure on the giant micro-blogging site.

More recently, PeopleBrowsr launched the Playground suite adding more social streams (Facebook, blogs and more, according to its guide) and turning PeopleBrowsr into “a deep social analytics platform designed to be an all-in-one social media solution for the enterprise” says Mashable.  Mashable’s story does a good job of parsing the key elements of the Playground suite: Analytics, Search, Engagement and Grid.

This platform was built for power users and it is easy to see how agencies would like it. It aggregates content, allows you to slice and dice results, provides quick reports on campaigns, and includes “spaces” to organize social media monitoring and engagement by product or client.

I barely scratched the surface on PeopleBrowsr. Here are a few things that stood out in my one-hour investigation:

  • Robust platform, overwhelming for beginners
  • Gives insight into which communities are most active with your brands or issues. To demonstrate this feature, PeopleBrowsr’s website provides Pepsi as an example, showing that musicians like Pepsi and talk about Pepsi more than other communities.
Pepsi's Community Champions

PeopleBrowsr identifies which communities are most engaged with your product or issue, helping you better target your efforts.

  • Strong dashboard metrics on sentiment, gender and where conversations are happening
PeopleBrowsr demographics dashboard

You can quickly see whether sentiment is positive or negative and key demographic traits of your audience.

  • It’s international. You can drill down into almost 100 countries and major cities.


    Covering almost 100 countries and major cities, users can drill into audiences and results by geography.

  • 14-day test drive available, which you’ll need to become familiar with this monster
  • Provides “Kred” ratings for influencers (like a Klout score) and shows you exactly what goes into the ratings
  • Digs into results quickly by letting you change demographic, geographic and other factors in your search
  • Advanced search option with up to 12 keywords for Boolean-type searches
  • Profanity button allows you to tune out cursing (My test keywords were “report cards” and believe me, you need this feature! When I turned it “ON” it filtered out the kids’ tweets about bad grades and nasty remarks about their teachers, and filtered in parents’ complaints about missing report cards, which interested me.)
  • Includes a robust workspace for managing conversations, scheduling posts, assigning tasks to team members, etc., It allows you to work as well as analyze what you’re doing.

On the downside, because this tool is so powerful, searches take a long time. It ties up your machine and puts multi-tasking on ice. This may be less of a problem in a corporate environment than for a home user.

Overall, it looks like one tool won’t do the trick if you go the free route. Paid services have a lot of offer but will take time to learn and manage to their full potential.

Weigh in. What’s your favourite monitoring tool?