Friday, April 16, 2010

Social Gaming

Social gaming is normally referred to playing games in a social interaction setting online, as apposed to playing games online alone. There are many types of social games that one can play online, some types of games are: social casual games, board games, role playing games and alternate reality games. I was surprised to find statistics online that say females are a majority of the people who play social games as apposed to men. One survey found that 55% of social gamers are female and 45% are male. Females are more avid gamers, too; 38% of females said they play multiple times a day, but just 29% males said the same.

A big platform for where these social games are played is Facebook. I guess it is not surprising since it is one of the largest social networks and people would be much more comfortable playing with friends. The three largest developers on Facebook for Social games are Zygna, Playfish, and Playdom. The largest social gaming application used by Facebook users is Farmville at 61 million people. What I found more surprising is the amount of money that can be made with these applications. Zygna is reporting around $100 million in revenue for the year from Facebook applications.

The economics behind the social gaming industry is fascinating. When it comes to video games the cost of development is in the millions and the game has to be a blockbuster for the developer to make a profit. In a the social gaming industry the cost of creating such a game is in the hundreds or thousands of dollars and can make a profit very easily and quickly. I believe that social gaming will stay a thriving industry because of its business model and it can have a very big role to play in the marketing process for companies because of the demographic it pulls in.

You can find two of my comments on recent posts of people who blog about social gaming by clicking the following links: Comment 1 and Comment 2.

Who’s Playing Social Games? [STATS]
Biggest Social Gaming Applications By Number of Users
Has Social Gaming Peaked On Facebook?
Why The Economics Of Social Gaming Are So Attractive To Investors
What Exactly are Social Games?

ROI and Social Media

Return on Investment (ROI) is mostly a financial tool to measure the ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested by that person or firm. Now is it possible to find the ROI of social media? This is a difficult question to answer, mainly because there is a lot of disagreement about it which could relate to there is no right answer. Putting a numerical value on conversations people have on the internet is extremely hard to do. Although some people argue that this can be done through web analytics, because then these conversations can be turned into data and putting numerical values on data is quite easy.

Here is what I have a problem with. Even if these conversations are converted into data, it will be very easy to manipulate this data to fit the criteria set by the firm to evaluate it. Until there is no industry standard set criteria to evaluating the ROI on social media I believe it will be a point of contention in the marketing world. Although this poses another obstacle. Can the industry agree to implement a standard set of criteria for evaluation of ROI in this field and is it possible? Until these questions are answered I think that any ROI on social media will be unreliable or subject to speculation.

"Understanding Social Media ROI (VisInsights Blog)"

"Response to Social Media Explorer Blog Post: itWhy Asking About the ROI on Social Media is the Wrong Question"

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Future of Socail Media

It is always hard to predict the future, specifically when it comes to technology because it is so fast moving and unpredictable. Although, social media is something that is relatively nascent so it is important to see where it will go in the future because it will definitely have an impact on us all. One trend that seems likely is that our interaction with search engines will be different. This is because Google search will have to incorporate real time information from twitter, blogs, etc. Google will have to show searches that have relevant content from our personal networks closer to the top. Another trend that seems likely is the increase of content aggregators. Since information online is growing at an unbelievable pace, and we have more than one profile online, services will come out that manage and filter all this information to help us out.

Another big trend in social media that is on the rise is adding ratings to one's site. Ratings are easy to do and specially on e commerce sites they are becoming huge. People normally have a herd mentality and businesses should be aware of that so when they see good ratings for a product online they will flock towards it. Another trend that that is gaining traction is the idea of the semantic web. In a semantic web world, search engines, for example, will anticipate the best search results we’re looking for based on what they know about us (such as all our public social networking profiles). This finally leads me to question the privacy of it all. Will all users of social networking sites be alright with all of this specially the semantic web looking into our profiles before giving our search results? I believe that for this to happen we will have to decrease our expectations of privacy on the web. Although it will be interesting to see if any or all of these trends actually do materialize.

Future Trends in Social Media - What will Social Media look like in 2012?

5 Predictions on The Future of Social Media

Friday, April 2, 2010

SEO and Web Analytics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically creating content and then optimizing it on your site to increase the quantity or quality of traffic to a website, web page or blog. I never personally thought about SEO before mainly because I never realized the importance of SEO to a marketing strategy. Thinking about it now, I realize that SEO can be extremely useful to generate sales for a company through an online outlet or views for a blog to make it popular and increase readership. The core of SEO would be to get into the customers or readers head, to imagine what they want to read or see on the page to make it easier for them to come to you. The bots that scan web pages on the internet are searching for pages with queries related to what the customer has typed in so it is imperative to know what they want. SEO incorporates many things that we know we should do anyway but tend to overlook. Somethings like having proper grammar on the page, making the layout of the page extremely remarkable, so the viewer is engaged and interested. Not having too many words on the page that will turn a viewer off and not want to read it. Having images and graphs if necessary to enhance the look of the page. These things will generate more viewership and loyalty to the web page.

One way that you can track this viewership is through web analytics. Web analytics are basically a set of tools you employ to see how your viewership is impacting your business or reading your web page. These tools help you track many things on your web page but a few important ones are tools that deal with demographics, they let you see how many people have viewed your page, where they are, how long they viewed it for and whether they were a new viewer or a returning one. These tools can help a business build a online marketing plan to cater to those needs and improve lagging proficiencies. The only problem I see is that SEO works only when people are already on your site, how do you get these people to your site in the first place? That is why SEO needs to be implemented as part of a marketing strategy it cannot be one on its own.

"Video: What is search engine optimization(SEO)?"

"Getting Started With Online Marketing – Web Analytics – Part I | Whatever it Takes | Fast Company"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recruiting and Social Resumes

There are a vast number of recruiters in the financial field that say they can help college students get jobs at major institutions when they graduate. This is not always the case. Recruiting is a tough field but it can seem much tougher for the people they are trying to help. Some recruiters are extremely professional and keep you informed at each step in the process while some go off the map after the first conversation. In the end if a person is trying to go through a recruiter to find a job they need to sometimes leave it up to chance, because it all depends on how well the recruiter will lobby for you at the institution you are trying to get into. It can be a tiring process going through a recruiter but if it pays off it can be well worth it.

Another way to find a job is to build a social resume. Some employers might be curious and go online to find out a little more about you, in this case it would help to have a social resume up to promote your ideas. A social resume does not necessarily have to be a list of your accomplishments but a string of your ideas comprised in a blog. It can also be in a format of what Brazen Careerist suggests, a list of comments in industry networks. Such a resume will certainly help employers know you better and whether or not you are a good fit for the company at first glance.

"Working with Financial Recruiters - Laid Off And Looking - WSJ"

"Brazen Careerist Launches Social Resumes – WebWorkerDaily"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Culture, Technology and Collaboration

Many people concede that the technology drives collaboration, but Will Kelly disagrees with them, he says corporate culture drives collaboration instead. Thinking about it makes sense. Technology enables tools to further processes used by people for the betterment of society. Although, using those tools within a corporation would require a certain culture set by the company that makes it conducive for employees to use the technology. The company culture will dictate to an employee whether it is alright to connect with clients with an instant messenger service after work hours or that may be too unprofessional in some companies. Although the prior choice gives the company an advantage in terms of getting things done much more quickly and efficiently while saving client a lot more money because they will be able to make a decision faster.

One form of online collaboration are wikis. Wikis are basically programs that allow people to create and maintain collaborative websites. Users can create and edit content to their specifications whenever they choose to do so. The main positive attribute of such a collaboration is that people have access to one repository of information at a single place without the time consuming searches needed to hunt for data from other sources. Such a program also has some negative points about it, some of which are the bias of the editors and the tendency of some people to deliberately or unknowingly put up wrong information on the site. Till these two attributes of wikis cannot be fully addressed, the verification of all information taken from these sites still needs to be a priority.

"Corporate Culture, Not Technology, Drives Online Collaboration – WebWorkerDaily"

"Column from PC Magazine: The Wikification of Knowledge - Columns by PC Magazine"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Can't Get A Job, Get LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the new business networking source. Social networking sites are extremely popular but now fast rising in popularity is this relatively new concept of business networking. LinkedIn is a platform where people can expand their business contacts to build a greater network. It is a great resource to get jobs especially in this type of economy. You can post who you are and bits from your resume to build your personal brand, either to attract employers, more contacts or even clients. LinkedIn is a resource that helps you build not only your contacts but also your career.

However, LinkedIn should be an added resource in networking, not the only resource. It should not replace the true face to face networking and joining associations, going to conferences and meeting with colleagues after work. True networking is when people can meet you and see your personality and it should not be replaced by business networking online. As long as LinkedIn complements a persons real networking skills it can be a great asset in finding a new job or just expanding your network.

"How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn"

"How to Change the World: Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn"