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Monday, 25 October 2010

The Tweet Has Landed

Just Landed - Test Render (4 hrs) from blprnt on Vimeo.

What is this visualisation showing us?

Jer Thorp is an artist and educator currently living in New York. A former geneticist, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science and art.

He aims to track data that is hidden in various social network information streams in particular Facebook & Twitter updates.

In the above video he demonstrates how he has extracted travel information from people’s public Twitter streams by searching for the term ‘Just landed in…’.

As he puts it "Find tweets that contain this phrase, parse out the location they’d just landed in, along with the home location they list on their Twitter profile, and use this to map out travel in the Twittersphere."

While this is very much a project in the making, the future application of being able to track tweet terminology in this manner could greatly assist social media analytics.

For a more graphic visualisation try Twit3D


Of more interest though is the ability to predict what might happen in a social media campaign, rather than just measuring or graphically charting results, post-campaign.

MIT's Technoogy review showcases the success of Jason Harper who works for a digital ad agency and has devised a way to use Twitter and Facebook to forecast sales of everything from cars to tampons.

Harper's model borrows from  the concepts of velocity and acceleration from the world of physics. He collects data during three phases of a campaign: the baseline, or the number of Tweets or Facebook fans before an ad campaign starts; The Hot Zone, or the main surge of activity during the campaign, and the Fallout, the inevitable decline when the campaign is finished.

The MIT article states:

"Under Harper's model, which he calls Velocity & Acceleration, the idea is to constantly measure the number of related tweets, blog mentions, and Facebook fan sign-ups during the campaign.

By using calculus to compute the velocity, or rate of change, of the tweets and sign-ups, Harper can easily compute any acceleration, the rate of change of velocity over time. Using these two metrics, Harper says he can predict whether a mass marketing campaign will reach its overall goals within the first few days it begins running.

The resulting curve typically takes a steep upward slope before leveling off, a pattern known in the industry as "the kick-ass curve." Says Harper: "The idea is to predict the height of the plateau."
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Shop Till You Drop

The Tech Herald
Todd Hale, SVP Retail and Shopper Insights for Neilsen has made the following predictions of the 2015 retail landscape.

He bases these on the premise that the recession in the US has drastically affected the way consumers now behave. As he puts it, they have "pressed the reset button".

They are going out a lot less and becoming far more discerning and as a result retailers are going to have to be far more innovative to survive and prosper.

The ten predictions:
  1. Mass supercenters and e-commerce will be the big winners.
  2. Low and high-end grocery stores will grow share.
  3. Pet stores and dollar stores will grow.
  4. Retail consolidation: the big will get bigger.
  5. Smart phones will be the primary enabler of shopper engagements.
  6. Store formats will evolve: new formats, smaller stores, pop-up retailing to accelerate.
  7. Anywhere in-store check outs to replace self check-out and open floor space.
  8. In-store kiosks, digital media and holograms to interact with shoppers.
  9. Demise of traditional consumer age and gender targets as technology enables seamless view across languages and ethnic/generational groups with links to purchase and usage behavior
  10. Evolving U.S. demographics have major impacts
These observations should not be confined to the US market. Similar shopping trends are being noted worldwide and consumers are choosing to save more and spend less.

Note the digital innovation opportunities in the Neilsen predictions; more sophisticated targetting, use of digital media and the importance of smart phones to build engagement.

With all of the talk about smart phones it is easy to overlook the ongoing importance of SMS in the communication equation.

mBlox research shows that 38% of UK retailers have used SMS in a campaign and a further 36% are using a mobile site when reach consumers.

“As other mobile technologies seek consumer acceptance, the ubiquity of SMS makes it the ideal medium for retailers to enhance the consumer experience.” says chairman Andrew Bud.

Howard Wilcox of Juniper Research goes further. He believes that " SMS has a central – critcial – role to play not only in mobile marketing via mobile websites, but also advertising, promotions and coupons. "
In the years ahead retailers are going to have to be increasingly innovative with digital media if they are to survive.
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