Measurement Camp, the BBC, and The Next Big Thing

So last Wednesday I was at Measurement Camp, this time in the swanky offices of Dare Digital.

The format is still evolving under the laid-back yet effective stewardship of Will McInnes (check out his survey, it’s hilarious), so this time we had a couple of presentations from past projects, then some quicker breakouts in which we focussed on individual problems.

Obviously I cannot reveal the details of any of the cases we discussed but here are my overall impressions:

  • QDOS was mentioned as a measurement tool. I had seen it before and thought ‘meh’, but Beth Granter pointed out how it could be used, and backed this up with bullet points explaining exactly what they do measure, and how. I like this creative approach, finding innovative new ways of using existing tools. The same went for Twitter Grader where she made it plain that it could be a very useful metric (and in fact I am already using it).
  • Facebook Ads seemed to loom quite large in several conversations. There was no denying the sharp increase in fanbase as a reaction to ads – I’ve seen it happen myself – but I would like to see how this continues. As with my post on the BBC so-called viral (which has, I just noticed, been quoted on the BBC site but without a link back – nice one, guys) I’d like to see whether ads – and let’s face it, these are adverts, not PR or word-of-mouth – create a long-lasting effect. But then again clients love to see numbers and charts going upward, so where’s the harm? Perhaps you really do need both.
  • While we were being debriefed by Will – a uniquely pleasurable experience – I was standing up (it’s easier that way), and had a quick look around. I noticed that the usual PR demographics were completely reversed, so we had mostly guys, a lot fewer girls. I think this is unfortunate. I’ve said before that, as a slightly geeky guy (I’m not really that geeky, I do have social skills) I wonder whether someone like me is best placed to evangelise about social media. People think that you need to be technical to ‘get it’. You don’t. I mean, what’s technical about typing a web address into a browser and having a quick look at what’s being said? Hopefully this will change, but for now it does seem that social media measurement at least is still quite butch.

Finally, towards the end I had one of those funny little insights that crawl up the inside of my trouser leg and give me a tickle in a private little boy’s place. Someone mentioned Second Life – remember that? – and how, just because it’s dropped off the radar recently, this might not always be the case.

It got me to thinking how brilliant a fully immersive online game could be, with no installs, downloads or upgrades, especially if we could in some way measure activity within it. And that made me wonder whether The Next Big Thing is going to be multimedia apps delivered over the web.

My reasoning? We’re just getting to the stage whereby the web is fast, big and reliable enough to deliver applications as well as data, and this is essentially what cloud computing is about. But the applications themselves are fairly limited. Google Docs does not make anyone’s jaw drop. So, when I cast my mind back to my Salford Uni days, the parallel is that we had computers with word processors, spreadsheets etc crunching the data in a very boring, decidely non-multimedia kind of way. Then multimedia-capable machines came along, and everything changed.

So, it seems reasonable to suggest that, now we have applications running online, the next logical step will be multimedia applications running online. We’re talking graphics, video and audio here. Someone, somewhere, build me a thin-end Cubase client that I can run in the cloud, and I’ll buy that for a dollar.

6 thoughts on “Measurement Camp, the BBC, and The Next Big Thing

  1. This was a really interesting session. However I have to admit it raised more questions for me than it did answers (although I guess that’s the point right?).

    Speaking as someone who works in a B2B marketing environment, my challenge started with taking the discussions we were having and applying them to a non-B2C world. Using Facebook groups or Flicker to generate awareness is all well and good for a charity or cosmetics company, but will it really help my clients reach their target audience? Do CIOs of financial institutions or manufacturers actively participate on Facebook? And if so, how do you reach them to talk about technology needs and convert it into a sales lead. I can’t imagine starting a group or tagging a picture of sexy manufacturing technology in action will likely result in them picking up the phone and asking for a demo.

    The answer I think lies somewhere in choosing the right social media outlet, much as it does in ‘traditional’ marketing. And while this may seem obvious, to someone who isn’t familiar with the fast changing new media landscape it’s quite an eye opener to realise the many different levels under the social media banner.

    In terms of measuring the success of a social media campaign (the point of the exercise), this also raised for me how to actively track the qualitative side of social media as after all, quantity isn’t quality. And again I struggled to get my head around how to apply this in a B2B situation as telling my client QDOS tells them they are famous won’t really sell them on it. How do we demonstrate that it’s the right people we have raised awareness with?

  2. I was meant to be there and would’ve bumped up the girl numbers but well stuff happened – next one I swear.

    Second Life, I think, is just starting to climb out of the trough of dispair (or whatever gartner calls it), it seems that ppl are still using it and building some interesting stuff. As for online game that requires no downloads,upgrades or installs – they’ve been around for ages, only text based mind but still there – but I don’t think we are going to see a non-desk-based application requirement as its not the power of the cloud, its the speed of the connection to it that will be hand brake for a while yet.

  3. So, Second Life is coming back onto the radar? Cool!

    Text-based games is fine, but I was really thinking along the lines of online, media-rich experiences. You could be right about the connection speed, but this is making me want to do some maths. Y’see, I’ve been amazed recently at the ability to watch streaming video through iPlayer and the C4 service, albeit with reduced video quality, and really quite good quality audio. This makes sense: if I can download a programme in substantially less time than the playing time of that programme, then I should be able to stream it in realtime without too much fuss.

    So for audio certainly, and video to a lesser extent, it’s fairly easy to move data over a reasonable connection (we’re talking ADSL over the phone line in my case, it’s not even fibre optic).

    So I’m wondering whether something like audio production software might be viable. As I said, I would need to do the maths: typical broadband speed vs data needed to shift audio, quite possibly two ways, plus application.

    Hmmmm. Anyone better at maths than me fancy a go?

  4. Actually after posting this comment I had a quick chat with my resident tech expert who is also plays the occasional online game. He agreed that the connection speed would be key, you’d also need a fairly meaty set up at the user end to handle the graphic reproduction needed. One of the reason online games require an install is so that set points,graphics etc an be stored and access locally. The other issue is that most online games are sharded, so while there are 6 millon ppl on WoW they don’t all play in the same virtual space. Eve, a now defunct EA game, was different in that you could travel between the different galaxies, and in theory every player could be in the same bit of space, both in the game and on the server(s). In practice if more than 200 players congregated in the same galaxy that server fell over.

    Which would mean internet users would be segregated and effort would have o be spent on mirroring content from one section to another in order for the social/collaborative side to remain in place.

    Obviously as puting power increases then it will become feasible but I think it’s a good way off yet.

  5. OK, so media-rich gaming environments are a way off. But I’ve had an idea with audio – I’m going to trial GoToMyPC and try to run Cubase over my wireless network. If that works, then we’re into the world of Cubase Cloud, which would be outstanding.

  6. It is a way off, after further discussion we decided that the most effecient way would be for code to be directly sent to the graphics card, changing only those elements which had changed. That said direct access to devices is rather dodgy and we’d a standard for graphic card interaction, we’d still all need top notch graphich cards and ping-pong tiddly end user devices though.

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