Analytics capability grows with each new mobile device user, but so does the interest in the Do Not Track initiative. As I sat in on a review last week of the initiative, I could not help but wonder how analytics will grow from its adoption.
Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, hosted Opting In To Do Not Track: A Morning Mini-Conference On Privacy, Tracking, and More, a fast track review as part of Internet Week New York events last week. Alex Fowler, Global Privacy Leader at Mozilla, was the moderator. The four-hour overview aimed to provide marketers information on the Do Not Track initiative with representation from Mozilla, Federal Trade Commission, and W3C. Twitter heightened attention for Do Not Track, ironically, as it announced its support of the Do Not Track initiative.
Do Not Track is a standardized privacy initiative supported by the Federal Trade Commission, online privacy advocates and internet service provides like Mozilla.
Website browsers have recently included a “Do Not Track” option that sends a line of code to websites indicating the user does not want to be tracked for behavioral advertising. Under current regulations, it is up to the user to select the feature and for hosting websites to honor the request.
Do Not Track is a privacy feature included in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. Fowler noted that Google will add Do Not Track to its browser Chrome this year.
Mozilla has been leading the Do Not Track discussion among browser manufacturers. It introduced an analytic browser plugin called Collusion.
Collusion helps the user determine view all the third parties that are tracking movements, displaying a mapped connection of the tracking sites with which the user has interacted.
Fowler’s opening remarks captured the challenge of creating a user experience such that the DNT is understood easily. “The driver for this is that we are in a data driven environment in which volunteering information is being used for the personal experience…Thinking about how to control that experience better is part of this discussion. The problem is that there is a tremendous onus on the user to figure out what works.”
Fowler also emphasized Mozilla’s perspective on privacy. To maintain the opt-in nature of DNT, Mozilla never installs DNT technology that is “on” by default. The user must seek out the feature in the browser to indicate their preference. “We will not ship DNT preinstalled as “on” in Mozilla products,” says Fowler.
I enjoyed two very astute panel observations. I was particularly taken by comments from Brad Burnham, Partner at Union Square Venture – one of the leading venture capital arms in the burgeoning New York technology start up community. In his presentation, Burnham suggested that a political solution would freeze development.
Burnham imagined companies shifting their focus to “demonstrating some level of compliance and provide a privacy officer. Budgeting to train a third person in compliance is a burden for the two person app developer. And most of our advances are from these smaller businesses.”
“The end result would entrench the incumbents - Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft will dominate – they will have the resources to comply where a two person shop will not.”
Because analytics is difficult for a 2 person operation to apply while developing an app, Burnham says that ” third parties who can provide analytics services can and should exist in the ecosystem”. Burnham also suggested developers to think about the same real time access to data from users and providers
Internal API – multiple service reading from the same data – user would have to access to a read-write API. If the User could have an API key – you can do analytics to learn what people know about you (Collusion)
Another view of Do Not Track Self-Regulation and consumer trust comes from Ed Felten, Chief Technology Officer for the Federal Trade Commission. Felten explained that an effective Do Not Track option:
- is issued in a level playing field for all developers,
- easy to understand by the user,
- is a persistent setting regardless of technical updates
He reinforced comments from Fowler and Burnham.
“With an effective do not track, consumers can make a choice and enter a dialogue with a company. Company will decide how to response – fine, we’ll do what you are asking for; no we will not accept your business because we will not do X,Y, and Z; yes, we would like to convince you why this is option is better.
“Third parties will start to respect the choice consumer make. First parties will begin to insist that third parties respect their customers choice.”
Felten imagines that companies that defy do not track will be at a disadvantage, as consumers will limit their involvement with companies that stand outside a system. The response would be a broad consensus.
As more analytics service providers grow, from the small consultancy to the larger firm, the idea of a third party representing the first is being examined. Felten expressed these thoughts: “I think the conversation about party responsibility should enter contemplation when hiring someone to perform a service – if you can implement analytics, it’s ok to hire, without being a backdoor for broader dataflow.”
You can also learn further information at Mozilla’s Do Not Track site as well as about other initiatives at the independently run donottrack site, supported by Stanford University researchers (Jonathan Mayer and Arvind Narayanan). In addition, Felten contributes to a blog hosted by Princeton’s Center for Information, Technology Policy, which focuses on civic community issues and technology.
Sound off here about what you foresee for businesses as a challenge for adoption to Do Not Track.
This inforgaphic from HitTail explains the value of long tail SEO. Many businesses focus too much on single words. These words are sometimes a head phrase, one which can be highly competitive and hard to break through, even with an assist from paid search. Instead a two-word phrase, three-word phrase, or a descriptive noun may be the very way customers are discovering a website and consequently a business.
You can other useful infographics at Small Business Trends. Small Business Trends has been a Zimana client for the past 4 years, and have expanded their content to include great infographs from partners such as HitTail.
Zimana Client Spotlight: Scientifically Speaking @business317 merges presentation skills with social media
Eric Anderson has been a driving force with his company Scientifically Speaking (nicknamed SciSpeak). Based in Indianapolis, Scientifically Speaking provides social media and presentations coaching to technology professionals and small businesses. The end result for the client is an improved communication skill set to “tell their story.”
Zimana spotlights Scientifically Speaking as it expands its presentation training services with a special emphasis on social media usage among technical professionals. Scispeak is also presenting at several professional seminars throughout across the country, including: the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineer, Indiana Black Expo and the National Society of Black Engineers. Scispeak has also facilitated iPad education training seminars in the Washington Township and Carmel School Districts.
Eric believes Scientifically Speaking stands out to entrepreneurs and technical professionals through two aspects:
- Capability to explain ideas – “The biggest benefit to start ups and entrepreneurs is experience and knowledge in communicating technical information to non-technical audiences.”
- Charisma – “The passion that I bring to my training sessions and presentations sets the experience apart from any other. You can’t teach passion. This will make workshops and consultations memorable and enjoyable.
I have had the pleasure of working alongside Eric Anderson for one of his training courses at the Indiana University-Purdue University campus in Indianapolis. I am sure that many professions can rest easy with Eric on the job. To learn more on how Eric can build a presentation tailored to your organization, visit the Scientifically Speaking site (www.scispeak.com) or reach out at @business317.
2012 Social Media Week came and went in Chicago. I had the opportunity to hear a few great panels, many with a particular nod to social media analytics. Here are the highlights from the panels I attended:
- Ramon Ray of Small Business Technology brought his Small Business Technology Tour series to Chicago. In its third year, the popular tour presents technology ideas that guide small businesses towards tech that support operations.
- Google celebrated its 14th birthday with a 3 hours panel that focused on Google Plus and a mini review of Adwords. A Constant Contact director, Steve Robinson, also offered email marketing tips.
- Northwestern University provided a series of panels, including a revealing research linking social media to purchases by Prof. Ed Malthouse and a deeper look at social media influencers by Prof. Alok Choudhary.
- Pinterest was covered in the panel Tess Kearns of All Natural Chicago and Julie Dicaro as well as a mention to a new book Pinterest for Business.
- Kerri Noerth, Kerry Sugrue, and Vicki Ledajaks of Cars.com noted how the online auto trader implemented social media throughout the organization
- Howard Tullman, President and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, explored the major trends for social media in 2013.
Measurement was a key factor in many of the success stories panelist described as analytic solutions have begun to inform businesses beyond mere accounting stats. 30,000 attendees in 13 host cities attended over 1000 events. Some highlighted thoughts from these panels:
Small Business Technology Tour
Ramon Ray provided some great overviews of available tech for small business, from cloud applications to email marketing services. Sponsored by Microsoft and Infusionsoft, the Small Business Technology Tour will continue in several cities, including Miami and Atlanta.
Barry Mortz, who co-authored the book Small Town Rules with Becky McCray, provided some great insights in growing a business. He noted that business owners must “Drive where you want to go, Accept the results you get. Build the life you want.” He noted that in developing a team to help drive a business, small business owners are bad at hiring – A players hire B players, which reduces the very self-initiative that made the business successful. Barry suggests “we should hire people who are complimentary to us.”
He noted two main rules of sales;
1. People only buy when in they are in pain and when they have money.
2. We can’t sell anything to anybody – we got to be there when people are ready to buy.
Pinterest for Business
Tess Kearns of All Natural Chicago and Julie Dicaro explained the nuances for using Pinterest, noting that Pinterest has 29 million users as of July. This is significantly greater than 1.7 million user a year ago.
In her portion of the presentation, Tess stated that Pinterest’s advantage over other platforms is its simplicity. It is not “overstimulated with API and ads.” In fact no one needs to agree with you to see your Pinterest boards; “If followers post content, you can’t edit it. They can follow you, but you don’t have any control over it.” Thus Pinterest response is about a natural interest in the images shared. Tess and Julie discourages direct pitches; “You can not go onto Pinterest to sell yourself.” Instead, user should emphasize telling a story about the images they share.
The panelists noted that their strategy for implementing social media across the company was “less about collaboration, more about being social…Consumers and suppliers love working with people that they like.” They noted a McKinsey study that claims that 2/3rd of value derived from social media.
The panel also noted a generation shift in where value is derived in an organization. “Processes were originally built to manage communication and interaction. Yet processes built to manage activity has gone away – The time needed to interview versus receiving a job offer has shrunk dramatically. The end result is that ROI benefit goes to a different group than human resources.”
Medill School of Journalism Northwestern University
The Medill School of Journalism displayed savvy social media prowess, hosting three panels at the McCormick Tribune Center. The highlight for me was a research paper from Professor Malthouse that linked social media directly to business objectives. Using community engagement and purchase data from Canada’s Air Miles Reward Program and three separate contests, Malthouse explains how encouraging consumers to think about the benefits they receive from your service increases the likelihood for a sale or conversion activity
Also Alok Choudhary, professor and founder of consulting firm Voxsup, presented how big data analytics in social media enables real-time analytics, and how networks of social connections can best reveal ambassadors, influencers to companies. The effort leads to better engagements. Demonstrating with case studies based on an online tool developed by Voxsup, Alok Choudhary called this interaction Action Based Connection (ABC). He used a case study example regarding Egypt’s recent political unrest in which a Twitter user who had few followers yielded a high influence. Followers noted that her comment were real, so they turned to her. This example shows that one does not have to have a lot of followers to be influential…just genuine.