Tag Archives: Michael Tchong

Social GUI: The Future of Control Panels

This post is cross-posted with Ubercool.

The quest dates back to the early heyday of the dotcom boom. Online marketers wanted a complete 360-degree view of their customers, optimally displayed in one single screen. To this day the challenge remains. While the data mountain has grown markedly, our reporting interfaces remain a step behind.

But there’s hope. The arrival of HTML 5 will provide developers with the ability to fashion incredibly intuitive and malleable control panels, guaranteed to satisfy all but the most particular social marketer.

This HTML 5 demo gives an inkling of what’s feasible. We see a major market opportunity for a start-up that develops a ‘lego block kit’ analytics front-end that would gain wide industry deployment simply because the challenge of developing a highly pliable reporting front end often outweighs the crux of a program’s core features.

Why is this important? The cost of managing social engagement analytics programs is negatively impacting digital agencies’ operating margins. This trend exacerbates an already well-known factor ‘ overhead costs of digital ad production are significantly higher than that of traditional advertising:

  • Overhead costs ‘ Digital agency overhead costs form a significantly higher part of the overall cost of ad production, 45% vs. 12% (PDF; 2009 ‘Understanding the Economics of Digital Compared to Traditional Advertising and Media Service,’ AAAA).

  • Operating income ‘ The top 30 digital agencies increased gross income by 18% in 2010, but their operating margins fell sharply in 2010 from 9.5% to 5.7%. A well-run agency achieves good margins by keeping staff costs to no more than 55% of gross income. In the past year it worsened to 65%.

Clearly, the growing data mountain being produced by social engagement analytics is causing agency staff costs to balloon, which is not sufficiently being offset by heady overall revenue growth. This dictates that next-generation social GUIs be far easier to use and customize.

One company, Kansas City-based Infegy has just released Social Radar 3, which pushes the GUI envelope. Infegy Founder and CEO Justin Graves’ demo of Social Radar 3 last week underscored how easy it is to create customized analytics views on the fly. This is particularly relevant in a market where many marketers still enter queries as strings of Boolean variables.

Social Radar 3 has an elegant interface that uses drag-and-drop technology to enable users to customize their dashboards and reports. Reports can be shared via Excel, PDFs and URLs.

Infegy, founded in 2007, now tracks some 40 million Web sites, including blogs, forums, image sites, news sites like CNN and the BBC, Twitter and more. Says Graves, ‘[We obtain] essentially any useful content we can get our hands on, but focus principally on consumer-generated content.’

Infegy’s market is growing fast. Marketers are demanding much more accountability. Their struggle to analyze campaign performance from Web sites, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone and Android apps, will lead marketers to more than double investments in Web analytics by 2014, according to a May 2009 Forrester Research report, ‘US Web Analytics Forecast, 2008 to 2014,’ which predicts that U.S. companies will spend $953 million in 2014 to install, license and support for Web analytics services.

Piper Jaffray has a more aggressive view of this marketplace, at least they did in 2007 when they issued a five-year forecast that would have the Web analytics services market reaching $1 billion in 2011, based on a CAGR of 19% (PDF; ‘The User Revolution,’ February 2007). Keep in mind that both these forecasts are umbrella figures, because they include such general analytics players as Coremetrics and Omniture.

A big driver of this spending will be social media. Social engagement marketing not only brings the added dimension of being able to listen in on conversations but also to measure shifting attitudes about brands, an aspect dubbed ‘sentiment analysis.’

Infegy allows clients to search four years’ worth of online ‘chatter,’ with trend analyses that provide a historical overview of sentiments shifting over time, returned in merely two seconds.


Social Radar 3 is able to filter data in any of 12 languages, by country, positive or negative sentiment and drill down to source type, engagement frequency, time stamp, unique post, and other parameters.

To enable near-instantaneous search results, Social Radar abstracts trends by showing normalized listening volume. A typical chart shows the percentage of Infegy’s content during a set time period, be it day, week or month, that mentions a query. Explains Graves, ‘The reason we show this is that it is considerably less effected by long-term change and unrelated events. Social Radar’s database is much larger now and gets considerably more content each day compared to three years ago, so to make a trend over such a long time period useful, we need to normalize the data. Users can also switch to absolute counts if they need them.’ The race is on to improve the display and interpretation of social analytics with every monitoring tool vendor rushing to provide simplified dashboards that are more powerful, yet easier to use. Remarkably, this social analytics program was written by twentysomething Graves himself. The company say it’s profitable and cites such customers as Novell, Pizza Hut and Sprint. We hope this type of friendliness becomes an industry standard, so users can focus on developing that 360-degree view of the customer, one that marries online and offline engagement in a single view. It would certainly please those who’ve been wishing for such a system since the pre-historic days of ’99.

by Michael Tchong

Hear more from Michael Tchong on Wednesday, April 6th at the Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies Conference.

NACCM 2009: I Want To Tweet You Up

Here’s another post from the Customers 1st blog which highlights a session called “I Want To Tweet You Up” from Michael Tchong at the NACCM Conference that just took place. Enjoy!

I Want To Tweet You Up: What Emerging Customer Trends Mean for Your Business
Michael Tchong, Trend Analyst & Founder, Ubercool

We should begin by discriminating trends from fads. Trends are consumer value changes. The best way to predict consumer behavior

Ubertrend ‘ major movement, pattern or wave, emerging in the consumer lifestyle

Digital lifestyle ‘ marriage between man and machine
The Compression ‘ the acceleration of life
Unwired ‘ The unhooked generation

Captin Sully’s situation reporting coverage was changed by Twitter. The first image was from Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida from an iPhone. Comedians are the ones who best observe trends. The youths are on the front of this trend. The majority of Twitter users are abroad. Twendz lets you see Twitter trends as they are cascading down. Michael Tchong said Twitter will make or break swine flu.

Multitasking too much makes it harder for humans to remember things. The Wii now responds people to rehabilitate faster. Have you gone to ‘Wii’hab yet?

Tchong looks to microwaves for introducing Americans to instant gratification. Our state of mind has become a state of time. Culture has created a fast society, because we have a fear of being left behind.

Everyone is looking for innovation. In 1999, 95% of people stated that they wanted to be a leader. This is up from 37% in 1991.

We’re all facing the GPS Generation. We can get anywhere like a native, and leaving maps behind. Same can be said for speed dial and remembering phone numbers. Sit or Squat to find the restroom.

Time Compression. Food, photos, instant energy, etc. We are all trigger happy. Epic fail ‘ Frequently used term in the video game community that means you really messed up and/or something/someone is an utter failure. This is video game culture seeping into life.

Digital lifestyle: We’ve gotten an unknown president into office. Twilight and New Moon made a mom from Phoenix a multimillionaire.

Download free Uberternds map at ubercool.com.

NACCM 2009: I Want To Tweet You Up

I Want To Tweet You Up: What Emerging Customer Trends Mean for Your Business
Michael Tchong, Trend Analyst & Founder, Ubercool

We should begin by discriminating trends from fads. Trends are consumer value changes. The best way to predict consumer behavior

Ubertrend ‘ major movement, pattern or wave, emerging in the consumer lifestyle

Digital lifestyle ‘ marriage between man and machine
The Compression ‘ the acceleration of life
Unwired ‘ The unhooked generation

Captin Sully’s situation reporting coverage was changed by Twitter. The first image was from Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida from an iPhone. Comedians are the ones who best observe trends. The youths are on the front of this trend. The majority of Twitter users are abroad. Twendz lets you see Twitter trends as they are cascading down. Michael Tchong said Twitter will make or break swine flu.

Multitasking too much makes it harder for humans to remember things. The Wii now responds people to rehabilitate faster. Have you gone to ‘Wii’hab yet?

Tchong looks to microwaves for introducing Americans to instant gratification. Our state of mind has become a state of time. Culture has created a fast society, because we have a fear of being left behind.

Everyone is looking for innovation. In 1999, 95% of people stated that they wanted to be a leader. This is up from 37% in 1991.

We’re all facing the GPS Generation. We can get anywhere like a native, and leaving maps behind. Same can be said for speed dial and remembering phone numbers. Sit or Squat to find the restroom.

Time Compression. Food, photos, instant energy, etc. We are all trigger happy. Epic fail ‘ Frequently used term in the video game community that means you really messed up and/or something/someone is an utter failure. This is video game culture seeping into life.

Digital lifestyle: We’ve gotten an unknown president into office. Twilight and New Moon made a mom from Phoenix a multimillionaire.

Download free Uberternds map at ubercool.com.

Customers 1st Speaker Profile: Michael Tchong, Ubercool

Michael Tchong will be presenting the keynote speech “I Want to Tweet You Up: What Emerging Customer Trends Mean for Your Business,” Wednesday, November 4 at the NACCM: Customers 1st conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Find out more about the conference here and download the conference brochure here.

Michael Tchong has spent more than 20 years living at the bleeding edge of consumer technology trends. His uncanny knack for being ahead of the curve has earned him a reputation as one of the savviest thinkers of the information age.

A serial entrepreneur, Michael developed a host of successful media and technology companies to help consumers and businesses harness the potential of new technologies. His successes include founding MacWEEK, Atelier Systems (personal communications), CyberAtlas (Internet market research), ICONOCAST (online marketing) and Ubercool, a media and entertainment company targeting trendwatchers and trendsetters.

Michael surfs the scene with relentless energy, translating trends to help businesses identify emerging opportunities. He maintains eight blogs, including China Trends and My Lappy, and is currently working on his sixth start-up, which will reinvent the marketing and media worlds. Michael’s a global citizen who sees the big picture from his perch in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district.

A sought-after speaker, Michael has been quoted by, or appeared on, such leading media as Access Hollywood, BBC News, Bloomberg TV, Business Week, CNET, Fast Company, Fox News, UK’s Independent, PBS, The New York Times, Variety, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Wired.

Biography coutersey of iMedia Connection.

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