Friday, 30 April 2010

Analysing Google Analytics!

As my semester draws to a close I have started looking back over the past few months and have realised how my blog has become a regular feature of my life. From the demanding task of thinking about various topics to blog about each week to deciding what other blogs to comment on it has been an interesting experience that I previously had no familiarity with. Not only was I somewhat clueless about blogging, and Twitter (as you will have seen from last weeks post) but I now had a new task to deal with, that of Google Analytics. So for my final post I will discuss what I have learned about people’s use of my blog from analysing Google Analytics…this should be interesting.

My initial experience with Google Analytics did not get off to the best of starts, the process of setting it up seems simple enough however unfortunately for me it didn’t seem to go that way and unbeknownst to me my blog wasn’t linked to Analytics for about the first week… great start. Despite missing out on the first week’s coverage of my blog I have certainly found the information from my new starting point as very interesting.

My first day of Google Analytics coverage started on Thursday March 11th and visits to my blog started to register on the site. March 17th proved to be the most successful for with Analytics reporting that my blog received 10 visits throughout the day. I am not sure what made this blog the most successful perhaps it was the topic discussed, that of love rat Mark Owen, or perhaps people had a look at this blog and thought that future ones would not be to their taste. Whatever the reason may have been Google Analytics has certainly highlighted the ups and downs of the popularity of my blog and has allowed me to see the various places where the viewers have come from.

There are three main contexts where the viewers of my blog have come from first was Direct Traffic which accounted for 4.17%, Referring Sites accounted for a massive 94.44% and finally 1.39% from Search Engines. All this sort of data sounds very impressive and grandiose however when you look at the actual amount of visits, 114, and the number of page views, 267, it makes for slightly less impressive statistics. I would like to be able to say that despite these small numbers that those viewing the page were staying for a long time however I am unable to make these claims and must admit to the average time of 4minutes 9seconds spent on my blog. Any success I felt I had with my blog seems to be disintegrating the longer I look at my results on analytics. Perhaps Google Analytics is really only of benefit to those who get a great deal of traffic to their page and for it to used to analyse a blog perhaps makes the blog look less successful than it has been.

I do however appreciate how Analytics can be of benefit to companies trying to analyse where their traffic is coming from and how they could try and encourage them to stay on their site and stay loyal to their brand and company. In the case of my blog the traffic flow has not been substantial enough to give any great incite, I would perhaps have to use another form of reference to compare and see where my blog could be improved and thus ensure that viewers stay for longer and are more interested in what is being said.

Monday, 26 April 2010


Do you Tweet? Well for the past 2months I have Tweeted once a week on Twitter for my Digital Class and I just don’t get it. I mean what is all the fuss about? Twitter is the big new name in social networking with celebs from Katie Price to Russel Brand using it, even Barrack Obama has a Twitter site so it would realistically make perfect sense that a young girl, who could be described as perhaps being slightly celeb obsessed, would want to be at the hub of all things Twitter related. For this girl it’s simply not the case.

So I think that in the case of my experience on Twitter it’s probably best to start at the beginning, as Maria says in the Sound of Music “It’s a very good place to start.” On the 24th of February I set up my Twitter account and was ready to be inundated with information and friend requests etc. however it just didn’t seem to role like that. Twitter in fact seemed like a lot more work than I was prepared to give. I was however willing to give it a chance. I searched for some people to follow, classmates, newspapers and others involved in PR but then I was distracted and started following Heidi Montag, the productiveness of Twitter thus started to decrease.

These initial judgements of Twitter are perhaps negative as a result of the little action I had taken but even as I started to blog and post links to Blogger I just felt no one was interested in what I had to say. This is not to say what I was saying was dull its just there are so many people on Twitter saying such a variety of things that I felt I often got lost. Perhaps I should have taken a more proactive manner and used shock tactics to increase the number of followers I have (which currently sits at a tiny 13), maybe the comments I was posting weren’t startling enough. But really how exciting can I get when I just want to let people know that my blog is now on Blogger, particularly when I only have 140 characters to do so in.

I currently have a Facebook which I admit to using daily and a Bebo page that hasn’t been touched in years. I feel that the time I waste on Facebook could obviously be spent on more productive things but it is now so ingrained in modern culture that I would find it difficult to wean myself off the Facebook drug. Perhaps it is for this reason that I have not allowed myself to be overly accepting of the Twitter craze, I certainly don’t need a new addiction taking up time that could be much better spent socialising or, as exams approach at great speed, studying.

I don’t want to come across as being completely against Twitter because I am not; I simply haven’t been swept off my feet with it yet. I will however highlight what I think are the merits of Twitter and then allow you to decide whether Twitter is for you or if like me you just can’t be bothered with it. Twitter does allow you to have instant information often before any news outlets can, you get news in real time. From a PR perspective it allows companies to connect with a mass audience, and do it on the cheap, where feedback can be given and ideas can be developed.

Perhaps when I enter a working environment I will truly understand and appreciate the bonuses of Twitter, however until this happens I will remain a Facebook fanatic and a distant member of Twitter of the community.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tiger Tiger Tiger

This week I have made a Youtube video about Tiger Woods and that absolute PR Nightmare that has resulted from his numerous affairs. Do you think there is any hope for Tiger Woods? I hope you like it!

Monday, 12 April 2010

PR & Social Networking

So I have recently taken part in a presentation on the topic of social networking and how it is used in PR, as a group we looked at a variety of campaigns and certain companies that used social media. I personally decided to focus primarily on the social media experiment that Skittles developed and that of Coca-Cola. Both companies created massive campaigns, and as I shall discuss both were highly successful.
The popularity of social networking sites seem to increase daily with Facebook, Bebo and Twitter being the competition leaders in the UK. Companies of all descriptions have been quick to jump on this bandwagon. As we have seen recently with the case of Nestle and their recent mismanagement of their Facebook page the manner in which you interact with bloggers and fans is of prime importance as it can ensure the maintenance of a relationship with consumers and therefore maintain positive brand image and reputation. Content as always is King. The use of films, adverts, games and interaction will ensure that a campaign or company in general is discussed by those online but will also hopefully lead to further discussion in general society. Attention must be captured to ensure the interest is maintained, certainly want to preserve consumer support whilst also developing new fans. Those working on the social media side of things must ensure that they are continuously involved in all areas of their social networking that relate to their product and campaign.

In the case of Skittles it was in 2009 that they launched a new social media campaign by turning its entire website into a social media experiment. This move was questioned by some, mostly because it was unfiltered and anything could be said, but many felt it was a daring move to be admired. All this behaviour caused for a buzz to grow around Skittles resulting in their Facebook Fans rising from 600,000 to 4million.The Facebook page is called ‘Mix the Rainbow’ and allows for members to interact with one another and can often see a representative from Skittles entering into conversation, often with light hearted banter, for example
Derek says: Is it just me, or does there seem to be too many orange ones in the bags now?

Skittle says: Derek despite what you or the Internet may think, we can assure you there is no orange skittles conspiracy-red on the other hand…

Towards the end of 2009 Big Spaceship, a New York agency, were given the task of reinventing Big Spaceship have been enlisted to ensure that fans remain engaged in the Skittles brand, they do this by posting every day which often results in comments from fans. Interaction is key when it comes to the Skittles brand. Skittles certainly seem to have embraced social media in a big way. This is certainly a brave move for them to have taken and as a result of this they can certainly be regarded as frontrunner in social media.

Coca-Cola has over 5million Fans on Facebook, it has blogs eg Coke Zone Blog, a Twitter account, and videos on Youtube. Anything you can name it seems the global power of Coke has its finger in its social media pie. However this wasn’t always the case as Jonathan Mildenhall Cokes VP of advertising admitted that they were initially slow to embrace social media and that this was certainly a mistake on Cokes part. They have made great steps to rectify this misjudgement by developing an office dedicated to digital communications and social media.

1.5 Billion servings of Coke are sold every day so it is understandable that they were a little hesitant to try a new form of marketing as the traditional approach has always worked well for them. In 2007 Coca-Cola initiated their social media approach with the launch of the company’s first blog “Coca-Cola Conversations”. Coke then ventured towards the social media giants of Facebook and YouTube and continued to have success. A quote from Coca-Cola’s interactive marketing manager Prinz Pinkatt who stated, “In some cases some of our campaigns won’t need a hosted site. We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform.” I think this quote encapsulates the idea of social media; it is all about consumer ease. People will be more willing to find out about a company if it is put in their lap, it removes a sense of hassle.

I think that both these example highlight how minimal use of social media can have a great impact on the support towards a product and create a real buzz around it. They certainly show that even the most powerful and successful of companies can even see the benefits of using social networking to stay connected with its consumers.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Online Political Battle

It really does seem that everyone is now involved with social media in some way or another and now even our political parties are competing via this medium. First we had individual political parties with websites, then YouTube channels now Facebook pages, most recently we have now seen the development of a Facebook page called Democracy UK which will highlight and discuss all news coverage from all political parties on the run up to the general election. As the general election gets nearer it is understandable that all attempts will be made by political parties to gain support, however can this really be done over the likes of Facebook? It would seem that those controlling the Spin for these parties believe yes. For this reason the war on social networking sites has begun.

Primarily focussing in Facebook it is fair to say that this is a site that will be used as a key campaign tool for all parties; the UK now has over 23million Facebook users so it is unsurprising that the PR practitioners behind party campaigns will be keen to target this mass market. Facebook is a cheap and powerful tool that allows one to target the masses. Facebook is the kind of tool that can target floating voters those who perhaps have a disaffected view of politics. As is stated in the Metro “Facebook will be of vital importance to political parties wishing to woo the younger vote”.

In the 2008 Presidential election in the USA Facebook seemed to play a major role in the election of Barack Obama as President, it is hoped that Facebook will play an important role in the run up to the 2010 UK elections.
It has recently been reported that the Conservative Party is currently winning the electoral battle on Facebook. A combination of the Tories ‘friends’ ‘members’ and ‘fans’ amassed to 154,000 in comparisson to the Lib Dems 68,000 and Labours 62,200. The Tories in fact have more affiliates than the Lib Dems and Labour put together. David Cameron has a personal support network of 16,320 and makes him the most popular MP on Facebook. All of these aspects make for a crushing blow to a Labour Party that was famous for its use of Spin and media support only a few short years ago. According to a report published by Diffusion, a communications agency in London: “Conservatives have embraced Facebook as a potential campaigning tool more enthusiastically than candidates from rival political parties. As we head into a general election, the size of the Conservative party's presence on Facebook gives it a potentially huge advantage.”

Despite the Conservatives having a greater amount of support on Facebook this does not gaurantee victory in any shape or form, this online support will only be of advantage to them if it is translated into voter turnout on election day. These online campaigns can generate media attention and support but success will only be granted to the winner on election day not to the winner of a social media battle. This idea is confirmed by Ivan Ristic, director at Diffusion who states, “The key test for all political parties will be how well they can turn their Facebook friends into Facebook advocates, willing to canvass for support both online and on the pavement.”

How influential can Facebook be in a UK election? That remains to seen however this is perhaps a question that will be more easily answered after the 6th of May.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Power of Facebook

Facebook has become a power that can shape opinion and change the course of things that can regarded as a dead cert, for example for the past 7years Simon Cowell has produced an artist from one of his pop reality programmes and they have become the UK Christmas number one. However things for Simon Cowell were not going to run as smoothly this year, enter Rage Against the Machine and the Facebook campaign which amassed a total of 537,365 fans and rocked the charts by taking the Christmas top spot from Cowells hands. This can only be described as a PR nightmare for the music guru as many went on to question whether his grip over the music industry was slipping. More globally Facebook is also said to have been an influential factor in regards to the election of Barack Obama as President of the USA. Facebook and other social networking sites have allowed consumers to air their views and highlight their upset to the masses creating an even greater problem for companies than negative media representation.

The chocolate manufacturer Nestle is the most recent company to be targeted on Facebook as a result of its actions. The situation with Nestle started after Greenpeace accused them of not being environmentally friendly and therefore decided to start a campaign to make the wider audience aware of Nestles downfalls. In the past Nestle have had a poor reputation with regards to their CSR. As a result of this recent campaign consumers were fast in showing their alliance and as a result of this people were quick to make their opinions heard via social networking sites primarily Facebook and Twitter. The complaints towards Nestle started to pile up with some users even doctoring the Nestle brand logo to take a more underhand dig at them. The campaign involving Greenpeace is certainly a PR problem in itself however the reaction that Nestle have taken towards the comments posted on their page has created an even bigger need for PR guidance as the media representation of them has been less than positive.

Nestle have asked Facebook users not to doctor the brand logo and this has been met with a level of distaste, however the manner in which the representative from Nestle has replied to these comments has come under great scrutiny creating an even greater PR nightmare for the brand. An example of one of the conversations can be seen here. As is highlighted in PRweek Nestle has struggled to maintain popularity as criticism from consumers grows. I think it would be basic PR knowledge that when one is trying to resolve a tempestuous situation with such a dominant power as Greenpeace that it would be better to try and keep its customers in favour. However this negative approach taken by Nestle will have only created even greater problems than may have first been considered.

The Greenpeace problem may not have initially garnered a substantial amount of media attention however the patronising tone that was used by a member of the Nestle company has certainly resulted in a PR success for Greenpeace as it has outraged many and therefore made their issue come to light. Nestle must be careful or they may find they have a complete PR disaster to contend with. In PRweek it is stated that the Nestle situation was becoming a social media crisis. This is a rather painful PR lesson for Nestle to have to learn.
I question whether there is any company that is big enough to take on the power that comes with the mass mobilisation of Facebook or if Nestle is simply one of a long line of organisations that will have to answer to social networking sites?

The video below is an example of the tactics used by Greenpeace to tarnish the image of the Nestle brand.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Mark Owen: a PR nightmare

The term ‘love rat’ is something that has become almost synonymous with a cluster of male celebrities from John Terry and Ashley Cole to Tiger Woods they have all been exposed as serial love cheats. However I think like the rest of the world I let out a gasp of shock when it transpired that Mark “the cute wee one from Take That” Owen had been having multiple affairs for years. On the 11th of March Mark Owen went public with his indiscretions via a tell all interview with the Sun newspaper. This sort of move is certainly not one that would one would normally see occurring from a celebrity, from my perspective it certainly seems that his hand was pushed as the paper had probably already found out about his affairs and with or without his consent would have printed the story regardless. By taking the move to come out publicly the team surrounding Owen and Take That will have been hoping to have some sort of damage control. However have their attempts worked? Owen is known for his “squeaky clean” image and this sort of controversy is certainly something that could rock not only his career but that of his fellow band members. Since the revelations have surfaced Owen has entered rehab to solve the drink problems that have miraculously come to light and thus coincided with the cheating controversy. I do however question whether this recent confession of alcohol dependency is simply a mere case of smoke and mirrors from Owens PR camp hoping to distract the medias attention from his numerous affairs?

Within moments of the news breaking on the Sun website gossip forums and social networking sites were ablaze with chat about Owen, Heatworld even set up a forum for fans to comfort each other and discuss their shock. This was the time when Owens PR team will have been holding crisis talks to ensure the safety of their client and therefore their own financial interests. As soon as a scandal such as this one is exposed the internet comes into a world of its own with many purporting to have the facts and making wild claims. I question whether the PR team surrounding Owen suggested he take some time out from the media spotlight and merely developed this notion of an addiction to allow Owen to come back from rehab and for all to be forgotten. A prime example of this can be seen in the case of Tiger Woods who entered a rehab facility to tackle sex addiction and is now set to make his return to golf.

In PRweek there have been claims that the moves taken by Owen and his PR team have already paid off. They believe that by “orchestrating” the confession that they have “minimised the fall-out”. Owen clearly wants this situation to be forgotten about and by coming out and giving such a stark and honest account of his misdemeanours he has hoped the situation will not be dragged out. Certainly having the support of his wife will allow the public to forgive him more easily, however only time will tell if this does happen. Having some level of media control does seem to have helped, however this does not meen that Owen is out of the woods in regards to poor media representation and will be heavily reliant on his PR team to ensure fans remain on his side and more importantly that any endorsements don’t disappear.