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Using Word Clouds to Size Up Digital Marketing Trends

  |  November 23, 2010   |  Comments   |  

Comparing digital marketing trends in Asia and the United States based on a word cloud analysis of ClickZ.com and ClickZ.Asia.

Because this column is dedicated to the topic of 'Digital Marketing Trends', I decided to do an analysis using word clouds. I took the last 20 or so ClickZ Asia articles published by fellow marketers, cutting and pasting these articles (totaling around 15,000 words) into Wordle. The results surprised me.

After removing the usual suspects, common words such as 'the,'  the top words were 'search' (82 times), 'media' (71 times), 'social' (69 times), and "marketing" (68 times) - all very close in word count. 'Mobile' came in with 48 occurrences, 'content' 42 times, and the word 'brand' appeared 38 times.

What was so surprising? I had expected to see brand names and websites in the word cloud featured more prominently, i.e., Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. Where are they? Sure enough, Facebook did come out as the first site in the ranking - with 15 appearances, Google second with 14, and Baidu was third with 13 mentions over the 20 articles and 15,000 words. Taobao had nine mentions, and Yahoo just two.

Source: Wordle

How do we interpret this? To some extent, these results are indicative of how Asia is so fragmented compared to the U.S. market - Sina (China), Naver (Korea), and Rakuten (Japan) also got some mentions for instance.

To satisfy my curiosity, I did a similar exercise on the ClickZ site in the United States, taking the last 20 or so ClickZ Expert columns totaling approximately 15,000 words as well. As expected, the individual sites featured more prominently, with Google coming in with 33 mentions versus 14 in Asia, Twitter with 29 mentions (versus just eight in Asia). Interestingly, Facebook had just six mentions in the 15,000 words on U.S. ClickZ versus 15 in Asia. Note that very similar to Asia, Yahoo only had three mentions in the U.S. and Microsoft twice (only once in Asia). How the mighty have fallen.

Source: Wordle[/caption]

Other than the more prominent site names, in the U.S., 'social' (used 56 times), 'marketing' (52 times), 'content' (43 times), and 'search' (38 times) also featured prominently in the experts' columns, similar to the Asian counterparts, although the word count for 'search' in Asia was more than double that of the U.S. (82 versus 38). 'Mobile' was mentioned 31 times in the U.S. compared to Asia's 48 - demonstrating the importance of the mobile platform in Asia.

On a different note, I was also surprised that I didn't see any mention of 'rich media' in Asia or the U.S. – concerned, I went back and searched the two sites. Indeed, there were a couple of columns in the last month or two, but not in the last 20 columns for either site - the last column on rich media on the U.S. site discusses 'mobile' rich media.

Interestingly, the word 'client' (or clients) is mentioned 21 times in Asia and 20 in the U.S., so there is an equal emphasis on the 'client' on both sides of the Pacific (we spend around 0.13 percent of our words on clients).

"China" is mentioned 27 times in Asia, and not once in the U.S. - maybe U.S. interactive marketing analysts should be thinking a little more internationally, as in fact, ClickZ Asia mentions the U.S. five times (U.S. mentions "U.S." six times). At the same time, iPad was mentioned six times in the latest 20 U.S. ClickZ columns, yet only once in Asia's last 20 - given that iPads have already been in China since September and elsewhere in Asia since April, there should be more 'trends' articles on the iPad and its apps. Food for thought for my next 'trends' column for sure.

Have a look at the word clouds - anything else 'jump out' at you?

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Michael Zung

Michael Zung currently heads up Bite Communications digital practices in Asia Pacific, serving clients like Skype, Coach, Marriott, and Toys R Us for both their digital marketing and communications needs. Previous to Bite, Mike served as senior vice president in HSBC's Asia Pacific personal banking services, where he launched and headed up HSBC Direct in Taiwan and was responsible for the growth of HSBC Direct in Korea and Taiwan, the first "branchless bank" in both countries. Prior to HSBC, he founded OneXeno, a regional digital marketing consultancy based in Hong Kong that was subsequently acquired by Bite Communications. Mike first came to Asia 10 years ago, working for DoubleClick, where he served in various positions including managing director for North Asia and was also the first editor of AccessAsia, a guide for Asian specialists and current research. He holds an MBA from New York University and an MA from University of Washington.

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