Monitoring Your Online Audience

You should monitor your customer base online for several reasons. Perhaps you’re reinventing your brand and wish to gauge consumer response to your campaign. Or maybe you’re in the midst of a public relations crisis and must take the temperature, so to speak, of your target audience to determine how best to proceed. If you’re a media planner or strategist, perhaps you’re eager to better understand your target audience and know that monitoring the behavior, actions, and mood of these users will give you deeper insight into where to place your clients’ ads.

When it comes to the logistics of evaluating the online audience, there are just about as many techniques and products available to you as there are causes to use them. Few, however, provide the ease of use that marketers seek. One that does is Statsit, a complementary online media analytics platform that agencies are using in conjunction with existing tools like Omniture and Google Analytics.

Statsit is comprised of a useful set of services and features designed to help interactive marketers report on and optimize their campaigns, and ultimately get the most out of their campaign analytics efforts. These include a comprehensive Media Monitor tool that gives agencies and their clients a greater understanding of the mindset of their online customers. It does so using a combination of social media and business results in the form of some 150 million blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Technorati, and thousands of news sources, in addition to any specific sites the product’s user selects.

Mikko Kotila, the company’s founder and CTO, said Statsit isn’t just intended to monitor your brand, but the themes around your brand — everything from the emotions surrounding it, to the problems relating to it.

“People are all about emotions, and intent has always been the black gold of Madison Avenue,” Kotila said. “Products are sold on desires and fears, and we’re committed to allowing marketers instant access to this valuable information at any given time.”

The service’s EmotionEngine delivers an up-to-the-minute impression of what Internet users are feeling toward your product and brand. Seeing this represented as a clickable tag cloud (define) on the Statsit platform is a sobering reminder of the level of passion (and, conversely, disdain) a product can invoke in a consumer. A cloud relating to a brand that’s enjoying a positive market reaction might include terms like “love, beautiful, easy, super, better, fit, limited, different.”

Now imagine how the tag cloud for a business trying to manage a PR nightmare might look — a consumer electronics company that didn’t produce enough of its in-demand product for the holiday shopping season, or a train service that experienced widespread technical difficulties and must now determine how — and when — to run its damage control ad campaign. The information businesses get about consumers during such times may not be what they want to hear, but it’s exactly what today’s brands and marketers need to see in order to deliver an effective response.

That’s what makes a service like Statsit so valuable to agencies: the ability to remain in touch with the market and its consumers. Users can get a holistic view of their product at various levels, including by brand and product name — where the user can measure consumer impressions and compare the product to others within the category — and timing — mining information that relates to when to advertise the product based on the desires and fears that its target audience might possess. This information has always been out there, but previously hasn’t been accessible enough for agencies to make it central to all their marketing and advertising decisions. Statsit brings it to light with a robust, user-friendly interface that lets you get as deep as you need to go.

Media buyers will find the tool useful for seeking out new sites on which to advertise, as well as assessing the effectiveness of their existing ads. Users can measure brand buzz and ROI (define) based on scraped data from blogs and social sites, as well as by individual blogger. Bloggers who frequently mention a client’s products in a positive way can be added into the system, making it easy for its PR team to contact them directly with product updates and new release information. Offline media buys can be analyzed as well; the predicted air time of a TV spot that mentions a Web address can be added into the tool so that marketers can watch for a resulting jump in traffic.

Services like Statsit are helping to take the remaining guesswork out of our jobs in a way that makes virtually everyone in this business — from marketers and agencies to PR teams and product developers — more efficient. The more we understand about our online audience and the way our advertising messaging (and the products it relates to) are perceived, the better we can craft and deliver it. Statistically speaking, that’s a direct route to success.

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