Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
Digital Book World (DBW) launched its Discoverability and Marketing social media dashboard today that measures the social imprint of top publishers. While the project is a great start, it looks like there are still some kinks to work out.
The dashboard, powered by Blitzmetrics, is made up of three sections: “Industry Portfolios” that track the Facebook activity for each publisher; “Industry Pages” that give a more detailed, granular view of Twitter and YouTube activity along with recent posts; and lastly a “Competitor Engagement Scatter Chart” that shows each page’s corresponding level of engagement in relation to fan volume.
The tool is in beta mode (they call it a “work in progress”), and there is definitely room for improvement. Here are a few key missing features that would benefit publishers:
Sentiment analysis: Especially in the wake of the DoJ decision, what are their fans saying, and feeling? Gauging fans’ (and detractors’) emotional reactions would supply publishers with a more robust layer of analytics, not to mention opportunities for reputation management.
Definition of terms: It would be helpful if we knew just what the metric “interactions” encompasses: Is it Facebook likes + Twitter retweets + YouTube views? Or back-and-forth commentary between admins and users? By better outlining the measurement terms users can navigate the dashboard more effectively.
Inclusion of other platforms: A publisher’s (or anyone’s) social media imprint is more than just Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. In fact, using YouTube as an indicator of social media engagement is almost irrelevant for publishers, since few have a YouTube presence at all. Tab over to YouTube on the industry pages, and you’ll most likely see a string of zeroes.
I would lobby for the addition of ancillary social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Storify. A publisher’s foray into these platforms alone shows broadened engagement efforts, attempts at innovation, and frankly: guts. Houghton Mifflin, for example, has a very active tumblr, Pinterest page, and Instagram feed. Although the interest in Pinterest has waned for publishers due to low returns of referred site traffic, participation in these various platforms should at least be noted.
Despite these criticisms, the tool’s strength lies in the competitive research realm. The industry pages offer a granular, detailed look at the page’s progress, including call-outs and “recent posts,” sortable by publisher and by category. The interface is easy to navigate and effectively highlights important stats. Overall, the dashboard not only easily pits publishers against one another to compare reach and fandom, publishers can also compare success of their internal offerings.
Even the top publishing houses strive to increase followers, jack up engagement, and face off with online giants like Amazon. This dashboard—with some tweaking—has the potential to help publishers accomplish those goals.