Browsing articles in "Social Media"
May 15, 2013
Christophe Lauer

Les chiffres clé des Réseaux Sociaux en Français et en vidéo


Dec 4, 2012
Christophe Lauer

Agreed: Social Media Listening is not the same as Research

Earlier today, I was doing my daily routine of reading blogs in my Google Reader selection and I came found the following post titled “Social Media Listening is Not the Same as Research”, which appears to be a modified reprint of another article titled “Four Reasons Why Social Media Listening is not the same as Research”, written by Julie Schwartz who is Senior VP of Research and Thought Leadership at ITSMA.

The author’s point of view

In the later post, the author elaborates four points on why Social Media Listening cannot replace classic marketing research, based on customer panels and interviews.

Here are the four points, unedited and as present in the article:

1 – Doesn’t ask the questions you want to ask
2 – Doesn’t come up with a hypothesis and get the data to support (or refute!) your hypothesis
3 – Doesn’t comprise a representative sample
4 – Doesn’t tell you what might happen in the future; rather, it’s a window into the past

Later in the same article, the author agrees that Social Media Listening can still provide some benefits, and she mentions:

- Provide qualitative insights
- Reveal unmet needs
- Test ideas in real time
- Collect data

My point of view

While I tend to agree with most of the points listed as potential benefits, I don’t agree with the four points why social listening could not replace research. And here’s why.

1 – Doesn’t ask the questions you want to ask

This is wrong to think so.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of comments, conversations, and statuses are published on social networks, in online forums, in comments on websites, in product reviews. It’s up to you as a researcher to come up with the appropriate queries in the social listening tools in order to filter out noise and to only get the verbatim that are relevant for a given question, and to narrow down the result set to something that is at the same time not too big – so that each comment or status can be analyzed by a human, and not by some automatic sentiment analysis piece of software – and also not too small so that it still remains statistically correct.

2 – Doesn’t come up with a hypothesis and get the data to support (or refute!) your hypothesis

Wrong again, it’s exactly how we proceed: the process starts with some work sessions with the client where we scope the project, define the research areas and the questions to be answered. It’s also the moment where we get internal inputs, business and domain knowledge and specific terms and jargon, if needed. Then comes a phase of initial listening where the first hypothesis are either confirmed or refuted. If the later happens, we loop back and rescope the project, and go for another run.

3 – Doesn’t comprise a representative sample

Maybe. But maybe not. If you consider that the population of the internet users are a special part of the society, you may be right. But if you’re trying to figure out some effective online tactics, it’s likely that you’re not considering non-internet users in your research, and as a result, online conversations on social networks are a pretty representative sample, on the contrary :)

4 – Doesn’t tell you what might happen in the future; rather, it’s a window into the past

Honestly, I don’t buy into all this trends around “predictive analytics”. It’s too much of rocket science, and you never know what happens. What happens in the future depends on what WE do today, so yes I agree, you need to make your strategic decisions on something more scientific that your instinct and best guesses.

Benefits of Social Media Deep Listening

Now let me highlight some specific benefits of doing Social Media Listening for a business:

- Flexibility: you can ask as many questions as you like, come back after some initial findings, rescope and ask explore new directions. Ad lib. Databases and listening tools never get tired of answering.

- Short cycles: results can be obtained in days or weeks, not in months. These near real-time capabilities mean that you can detect early signals and take timely actions.

- You can expect the unexpected: because your queries will bring you a series of unfiltered verbatim, you can expect to find answers to questions which you would have never thought asking in the first place, even if you’re a very experimented researcher who has conducted hundred of panels and interviews.

- Authenticity: when consumers publish a status on a social network, they speak they voice, and they really say what they mean. They’re not influenced by the way the question is asked or they do not have to choose their answer from a made up list.

- Real language: also, as a consequence of the previous, consumers user their actual real language, which may differ from yours. If you study this carefully, this can give you interesting hints on some keywords that you could then use to create specific content, and also for SEO.

- No borders, no limits: You’re not bound to a given geography, and you can do the same listening for different regions or areas and observe the differences. You could then fine-tune your marketing to create location-based campaigns.

- Beyond just marketing: of course, the first departments who would benefit of social listening in a company would be marketing and sales, but not only: there are also findings that could be very valuable all along the conversion funnel: from sales, to customer support, product design & engineering, or innovation.

- Listen to the unreachable: also, this process of social listening are very convenient for those businesses who do not have a direct access to their end customers, either because they do not own their sales channel, or because there are B2B2C or because they are some kind of regulated industry. Being able to listen to unreachable customers is something of big value.

Final word

So, I’m sure you’re now convinced that Social Listening has definitely some unique business value. Some famous market research companies have also already got it, like for instance Ipsos who announced a similar offering one year ago, and I’m sure they would agree with me.

Social Media Listening is not the same as Research

On a final note, I would say that yes, I do agree with the title, but not for the same reasons :)

Curious to ear more? Convinced? Want to give it a try?

The good news is that “Social Media Listening” is something that we at Valtech do for our customers, and we have some pretty strong references and case studies in this domain. Contact us if you can to know more, and we’ll be happy to get in touch with you and to setup a meeting.

[Edit] : Corrected job title for blog most author mentioned.

Nov 24, 2012
Christophe Lauer

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Si on est un peu attentif, en se promenant et en passant un peu de temps à New-York, on s’aperçoit rapidement que twitter et les réseaux sociaux ici sont complètement intégrés dans le quotidien et que ça n’a plus l’air de surprendre personne. Voyez plutôt, à travers quelques exemples.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand la moindre publicité dans le métro comporte un QR code, la mention d’un compte twitter et la mention d’une page Facebook.

(On notera au passage le super jeu de mots “What the Helsinki”. No comments :))

Et oui, il y a du réseau en station donc on peut effectivement flasher le QRCode depuis le quai. Wait marketing, you said?

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand au détour d’une avenue de Manhattan tu rencontres par hasard un billboard géant qui t’invite à partager des photos en utilisant le hashtag #GoForth pour une campagne de Levi’s.

Sur l’écran du bas, la photo s’affiche alors avec le nom du compte twitter de son auteur, et l’écran de droite présente le contenu textuel du tweet.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand les “spécials” dans les cafés et les restaurants te donnent effectivement envie de pousser la porte et de réclamer ta promo.

NB: Caffé Bene est une chaine de café d’origine Coréenne qui met en avant les produits plus sains et plus naturels : Moins de sucre, moins de graisses etc. C’est un peu le Starbucks façon “Seoul Style”. Et oui vous aviez deviné que le “Mojito” en question est un Virgin Mojito, une boisson sans alcool. Bien sur.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand une des attractions qui captive le plus les touristes à Times Square est cet écran géant qui propose plusieurs jeux intéractifs, certains à base de détection de mouvements avec des caméras braquées sur la foule, et d’autres tels celui ci dans lequel on participe en votant avec un tweet comportant soit le hashtag #DunkGirl soir #DunkGuy.

Voir le billet complet sur le blog SoParticular.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand les infos à la télé utilisent carrément tweetdeck en plein écran pour surveiller la progression de l’ouragan Sandy – image capturée le lundi 29 octobre, avant la nuit tragique.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York dans le quartier de la mode et des créateurs – le Meatpacking District – quand un petit camion de livraison de chips se transforme en galerie d’expo et de vente d’accessoires de mode, “The Style Liner” affiche fièrement son compte twitter en guise de contact à l’arrière.

Oui, les food trucks c’est presque déjà has-been ;)

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand tu as du WiFi gratuit dans le métro – OK pas dans toutes les stations de toutes les lignes. Ici c’est à la station 42th Street sur la ligne A / C / E.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand Tropicana lance une grande campagne crowd-sourcée basée sur des tweets et des hashtags. Les messages sont issus de tweets, et son ensuite affichés en station, sur les arrêts de bus, dans des commerces, sur les bus, etc…

La campagne a été remarquée mais les résultats en termes de followers twitter sont visiblement assez décevants, enfin au moins à première vue.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand twitter est omniprésent pendant la campagne présidentielle, que les tweets s’invitent en arrière-plan derrière le candidat Obama et que NBC affiche le hashtag #NBCPolitics en bas de l’image pendant l’intégralité de la retransmission du dernier débat télévisé entre les deux candidats Obama et Romney.

Le soir de l’élection, avant les premiers résultats on dénombrait déjà plus de 11 millions de tweets (source:

[Edit] Une de plus : Bertrand nous parle d’une nouvelle campagne de Mc Donald’s à base de hashtag twitter.

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand …

Tu sais que tu es à New-York quand tu continues à en découvrir chaque jour. Et il m’en reste tellement à voir. Mais promis, je vous en partagerai d’autres morceaux ;)

Mar 6, 2012
Christophe Lauer

DO’s and DON’Ts of Social Analytics – Conference material

This morning in Paris was our event “Social Media Analytics”, with our partners from comScore and Adobe.

Here is my presentation about the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Analytics. This is the director’s cut version, along with the comments. You can download the PDF version.


Feb 27, 2012
Christophe Lauer

Why I was – probably – wrong about Pinterest and why I believe it’s here to stay

[Lire la version Française de ce billet]

I think that I have read almost all that was available to read about Pinterest during the last weeks, trying to understand where all this buzz came from. And surprisingly, here’s what I found…

The online service is currently at the top of it’s hype, and we can hardly keep count of the articles, posts and presentations about Pinterest that keep blooming here and there.

I suppose that you must have seen those articles highlighting the exponential explosion in the traffic and users of Pinterest in the US, and by the way these numbers were confirmed by comScore, though this trend doesn’t seem to have reached the brave old Europe yet.

[Disclaimer: This text is not a machine translation. I'm not an English native guy, so please pardon me if if's odd sometimes. But if you can read French, you'll probably prefer to read the French version here]

Pinterest for Businesses. Oh, really?

But it’s really when I saw a series of presentations about “Pinterest for businesses” that I really started to wonder and to scratch my head.

If you haven’t seen those presentations, I suggest that you have a look. The first one is from Emmanuel Vivier (in French), there is another one also in French from Gregory Pouy and finally there’s one in English published by the guys from the “6S Marketing” agency..

Just a fad?

My first intuitive reaction, and I guess I wasn’t the only one (article in French, sorry), was to consider that all this buzz about Pinterest would be just another fad, after the previous episodes with companies like Quora, Empire Avenue, etc. and that the service would probably be forgotten after 3 or 6 months.

To keep it short, and not to dive too much into the details, here are some of the reasons why I still doubt that there could be clear business opportunities for business in Pinterest in the current situation:

  • - Please remind me which need the service is supposed to address? OK, I know that the same could have been said about twitter like four years ago
  • - None of it’s feature are not already offered by other existing services – and sometimes well established ones
  • - From “pin” to “repin”, the original links to the brands sites or commerce sites are lost, and bring no value to businesses
  • - No possibility to insert Google Analytics markers in Pinterest, which is not the case in tumblr
  • - Very simple, or simplistic text formatting, especially for the text below the pictures which is just plain text with no formatting possibilities
  • - The user interface is English only as of today (please remember that I work mostly for French clients)
  • - It seems to be the latest Silicon Valley’s pet or toy, and “we” will probably quickly move on to something else
  • - etc. etc. and I could mention more of those

Who are all those users, really?

And so, I’ve spent some time to go beyond the raw numbers and the cool inforgraphics trying to understand what makes that some many people seem to spend so much time on a service in which I see almost no value at first feel. One first element that is widely mentioned and repeated is that the audience of PInterest is in it’s vast majority made of women. as you can see in this infographic published on SimplyZesty.

And then, I had the idea to peek and poke into Google Correlate, and here is what I found. It’s not rocket science, it’s worth what it is – and we all know from how some correlations can be awkward and funny – but it’s a point of view that I haven’t seen anywhere else and I think it’s interesting.

This is it: the audience for Pinterest looks very different from the other startups, if you trust the data from Google Correlate. Google Correlate sketches a picture of an audience that spans in a region between the Southern and Midwest region of the US: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and add the Utah to the list.

This is interesting since I haven’t been able to find a similar pattern for any of the recently buzz-worthy startups. Most of those have audiences that are located – according to Google Correlate – in the West coast and East coast, but much lower in the states from the Southern and Midwest regions. This is very unique to Pinterest. Just have a look by yourself:

Google Correlate about Pinterest

You can check by yourself the graphics below from Google Correlate on the following search terms: Quora, Instagram, Storify, Startup and TechCrunch.

Hint: Click on the graphics to visit the Google Correlate result page and explore the results and correlations by yourself. Scroll down the page to see the graphics with the US states.





What Google Correlate tells us about Pinterest

Here’s one other interesting aspect of the story that Google Correlate tells us: there are interesting correlations with other search terms that are quite meaningful.. The service lists correlations with the following terms:

- nursery ideas
- devotionals
- valentine gift ideas
- boy birthday party
- reasons to divorce (sic!?)

Since I hate to waste an occasion to make a (bad) joke, let me just say this: Guys, given the strong correlation between “Pinterest” and “reasons to divorce”, if your wife get very passionate about Pinterest I would suggest that you do something and take care of the situation ;)

Also, you can give a try to the following terms and check the correlations: “mortgage”, “refinance”, “debt”, “unemployment”, “homework”, “housekeeping”. Do you begin to see the pattern?

Final word

My personal conclusion, that I share with you here, it that the buzz about Pinterest wasn’t probably started by an article from TechCrunch or a post from Robert Scoble. I think that Pinterest had found it’s audience. Or rather I’d should say it the other way roud: the audience has found the service that fullfils one of it’s needs and that it has adopted, beyond all mode effects from the usual early adopters and experts from the Silicon Valley.

Hence, I’m less convinced that this service will follow the same schema as Quora, Empire Avenue or the likes and be forgotten in 3 or 6 months from now. It’s now quite clear to me that the simplicity and the clarity in the user interface have resonated to an audience for whom a simple tumblr was already overkill and too complicated.

Though, I keep thinking that it’s still way too early to imagine any effective use case for a brand in France or in Europe. Not all brands are equal in Pinterest anyway: It seems to make sense for businesses like Etsy or for brand that are advertising in Womens magazines, or brand like Whole Foods Market, but I’m much more skeptical about Easyjet or tech brands, as explained in this TechCrunch article.

To be continued…


A propos

A propos : Consultant solutions sur le Marketing Cloud chez Adobe, région Southwest Europe.
Ex-Microsoftee de 2001 à 2011.
Je vis entre Paris et New-York entre Paris et deux avions, et ceci est mon blog personnel.
"Opinions are mine. Best viewed with a brain. Yada yada ..."

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