Google's view on the Recommendation Economy

Today you may tapping your latest request into the friendly white abyss that is the Google Search Box, just like any other day right? WRONG.

Today, (if you are logged into your Google Account) you may just see a little something different in your search results. A tweet from a friend, a blog post from someone you subscribe to on Blogger, a Flickr Photo from your favourite photographer or maybe a post from a brand you follow on Facebook. Why?

Because as of today Google is beginning to roll out it's Social Search feature to Google Account holders. (See the video below for a demo).

The recommendation economy thrives on the fact that we trust our friends and those we follow more than advertising or even editorial content from those we don't know. However until now the search results we have been served up for many years have always been somewhat lacking of that social integration.

Google's actions in this area show that one of the biggest powerhouses on the web believe this too - that we value what our friends share, like, post and blog about, just as much (or maybe even more) than the stuff that SEO's and PPC specialists have been trying to push to the top of our daily search grind.

Over To You:

Do you want to see your social feed in your search results? Will you be using Google Social Search?

As always thoughts on a postcard... or just in the comments ;-)

Social Media Measurement - A Search For A Unified Theory, PART 2

Blowing our own cover…

You see the honest truth is that, as anyone who has been around advertising, direct marketing, experiential, public relations or “New PR” for any length of time knows that at some point the ROI figures that make or break client relationships were at some point or another made up. This is not a new point, and I do not wish to labor it here, but it is a good one to make, as it puts all of this debate around the measurement of social marketing in context. The fact is at some stage or another in the offices of professionals around the world men and women sat down and looked at their sums and made assumptions about how much what they were doing for their clients was worth. These assumptions were not fool proof by any means, but neither were they shots in the dark, but either way at some stage a leap of faith was taken and these professionals put down their tent pegs and said, “this is how we are going to do it”.  At which point it became purely a matter of who could come closest.

If a man stands at a distance from a wall and then periodically halves that distance and halves it again, and then continues to repeat the process he will get to within a point that subatomic forces will not allow him to actually ever come in true contact with the wall, however he comes close enough that he rounds down to zero and concludes he has indeed reached the wall. (More on that here - it's called Zeno's Paradox) In much the same way with this kind of measurement was refined and refined by those who sought to answer the question until they came within what they deemed to be small enough measures of discrepancy that they rounded down and concluded they has indeed reached their wall – that all hallowed ROI figure.

However in an industry as young as my own, if is difficult to make such assumptions, as we currently still seem a great distance from that point in which can round down. This is for a a variety of reasons, although the traceability of online interaction is so clear, the way in which people interact is not such a tangible, and indeed measurable fact as it may at first seem. This is in part due to the ever changing ways in which people use the web, services like Second Life, Twitter and even the likes of the Disney owned Club Penguin (in which children can interact within one another by manipulating the life of their own Penguin on it’s own island) are changing the way that people use the web, meaning that in reality if we are to ever reach our rounding down point we must consistently and regularly reevaluate the criteria which we measure the social web with.

Having said this however, it is fair to say that even with the new and emerging platforms that the web has to offer, the task at hand has not changed from the three pillars that I outlines above, reach, perception change and call to action (CTA) are still the primary goals of our clients, and these goals have clear results in people, be they on the web or in the coffee shop.

If you missed part 1 of this article - find it here: PART 1

Barnardos Childrens Online Ads - Break the Cycle

http://tinyurl.com/56yeu3 Check out the above link to learn about the new Barbardos Campaign

teenage girl being hit in the head while eating at home

In an interesting use of video and interactivity, this new campaign from Bernardos invites users to "Break The Cycle" of abuse being shown on screen by clicking the stop button on the video, which launches into a full screen, high quality movie when clicked.

Enticing, brutal and provocative, the new campaign seeks to help children be brought out of cycles of antisocial behaviour, drug abuse and poverty.

Some Facts: (Source, YouGov.)

Research conducted by YouGov shows that:

  • just under half (49%) of people believe that children are increasingly a danger to each other and adults
  • 43% agree something has to be done to protect us from children
  • 45% think that children are feral in the way they behave.

A survey conducted amongst Barnardo’s young people – just over half of whom have been in trouble – found that most of them thought that young people get into trouble because of boredom and peer pressure.  

Of the 393 youngsters, aged between 10 and 23:

  • 44% said bad behaviour is encouraged when the media portrays their peers as misbehaving
  • 84% said young people get into trouble because of boredom
  • 88% said having more things to do and places to go might stop young people getting into trouble
  • 32% would go to friends for help if they were in trouble.

Shocking stuff really, as is the campaign videos, but well worth a look. From a media sense, this is doing nothing news, but is using something we have already seen in various incarnations, to great effect...

JP 2008