Adobe, the innovative company behind the PDF format, as well as the likes of Adobe Insight, Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks, has taken a step toward cornering the emerging social media analytics market. The company aims to help businesses better understand how social conversations affect their bottom line. While this service will utilize some technologies employed by existing Web analytics firms, much of the tools on offer are new. Still, some have expressed concerns on the reliability of such a service, and whether it could negatively affect customer relations.
In brief, Adobe SocialAnalytics will track social conversations while keeping an eye on the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Essentially, businesses will be able to directly monitor how well their social media marketing efforts convert into profits. The service aims to give clients insights into how online conversations affect them, ultimately allowing them to influence the conversation themselves. It remains to be seen how this manipulation will change social media in general.
Tools and Tech
Adobe SocialAnalytics will proactively seek out and record social conversations as they happen. Specifically, the service will be plugged into Facebook, the Twitter Firehose, and innumerable blogs. Additionally, the service will scour lesser social networks and forums. It will then run all of this information through filters that remove duplicates and irrelevant mentions. Continual sentiment analysis will provide business owners with a near-real time approval rating of sorts, all while the service keeps tabs on their social media marketing efforts.
The integration of the service into most social media platforms promises to be painless, as the process itself will be code-free. In fact, in most cases, the process will involve allowing the service’s app access to the business’s profile, an activity that most social media users do on a regular basis. From there, the service will glean data in the background.
Interestingly, the service promises to help business owners determine how social conversations lead to visits to their website and subsequent conversions. This level of tracking and accuracy will no doubt require some heavy-hitting processing power, and it is not readily apparent how Adobe will accomplish this. As for direct metrics, Adobe offers “revenue per app interaction,” “revenue per fan,” “conversions per Like,” and “visitors per mention.”
There’s no doubt that Adobe has taken on quite a project with SocialAnalytics. The service’s “Key Voices” feature alone, which claims to be able keep tabs on your brand’s biggest supporters and their reach, could revolutionize social media analytics. Still, all in all, Adobe is taking on a monstrous avalanche of data. There is always potential, however small, for new technologies to encounter growing pains. Furthermore, it remains unclear exactly how Adobe plans to tie social media interactions to bottom line performance. After all, it may be extremely difficult to demonstrate concretely that a given social media campaign translated into a given number of sales. In contrast, in the relatively simple world of pay-per-click advertising, this relationship is quite clear.
Potential clients may be initially wary of the service, as it involves keeping close tabs on what people are saying about their business. This could translate into negative publicity if a great number of people take offense at being tracked and logged. While the Internet remains a largely anonymous platform for most, consumers, ever wary of privacy concerns, may take exception to being observed in this way.
All in all, Adobe SocialAnalytics has the potential to revolutionize the way in which businesses interact with customers online. Business owners are advised, however, to keep in mind the backlash that huge social media companies such as Facebook have incurred by actively using the data that they glean from their users. There’s no doubt that Facebook is plugged in to a huge wealth of information, nor that the Twitter Firehose will provide businesses with a steady stream of social media intelligence, but each business owner will have to balance the potentially significant gains with the risk of alienating their established customer base.