E-commerce retail sites are acquiring just .18% of their online customers via Facebook and Twitter, according to a study released June 25 by Custora.
The study analyzed Google Analytics data linked to 72 million customers — an online visitor who purchased something — from 86 U.S. online retailers across 14 industries.
(E-commerce sites typically add tags to their links across the Web, in both paid and non-paid placements, in order to track the source of their leads and sales in Google Analytics.)
Organic search continues to grow as a channel, accounting for nearly 17.53% of customers acquired in the first half of 2013, according to the study, led by data scientist Aaron Goodman.
E-mail has more than quadrupled its share of customer acquisition volume over the last four years, making it the fastest-growing among all the channels tracked in the study.
Other search-related channels also performed well.
Social media ranked low as a customer-generation channel. That said, Facebook is showing some potential. In 2009, less than .01% of new online retail customers came from Facebook, compared to .17% so far this year.
Twitter has never accounted for more than .01% of new retail customers during the five-year study. Worse, a Twitter customer’s lifetime value was 23% less than the average across all customer sources.
There is more than one way to interpret Custora’s data.
One could conclude that social! media i s ineffective as an e-commerce customer acquisition tool. But another way to look at it is that online retail sites simply aren’t putting a lot of resources into marketing themselves on social media, and are favoring search and e-mail channels instead.
Also, even if social media still isn’t there yet as a reliable direct source of customers, there’s no way to tell how many customers were in fact influenced by content they saw on social media, and visited retailers’ sites later.
As counterfeiters continue to up their game, technology’s quest for the ultimate method of proving authenticity goes on. We’ve seen ideas at the nano level before, but IBM thinks its latest research might be so difficult to reverse engineer, that it’s impossible for forgers to reproduce. IBM scientist Dr. Heiko Wolf explains that the basic principle involves using the surface tension of water to orient nanorods on a stamp, which can then be printed onto any surface. These nanorods are so small that gravity alone isn’t enough to place the particles into predetermined patterns, such as corporate logos. IBM’s researchers have also patented a related nano-patterning method that uses fluorescent spheres that can take the color red, blue or green. These then arrange themselves in a completely random order, which is mathematically so difficult to replicate it’s known as PUF (physically uncloanable function). Both methods can be applied to a broad selection of objects, making them ideal candidates for anti-counterfeit detection for everything from diamonds to passports — all that’s needed to verify authenticity is an optical microscope. Don’t get your Picasso out of the vault just yet though, as it’s estimated that it’ll be another five years or so before the technology will find its way to market.
Source: IBM Research
Marketers already know way to much about us thanks to online tracking, and now they have yet another powerful way to understand consumers.
MIT startup Affectiva has created a webcam that codes facial expressions and a sensor that measures changes in body temperature. Both could be a huge way for brands to steamline the market research process.
Liz Gannes over at All Things Digital reports that MIT professor Rosalind Picard and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby initially created the technology to “help children with autism understand facial expressions,” but now marketing research companies like WWP Millard Brown and IPG Media Lab primarily use the products. Affectiva just raised $12 million in Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins and Horizon Ventures.
Kaliouby told Gannes that “we have the largest repository of facial responses ever collected in the world,” which is part of its webcam product, the Affdex dashboard.
According to the company site, the “dashboard provides overall emotion scores and real-time, scene-by-scene playback of facial data.” It can also compare the difference ! in emoti onal and facial responses from men and women, and people of different races.
Affectiva’s other product is the Q Sensor, which measures skin conductance — or in other words, how body temperature and sweat glands change over time.
NOW READ: The Incredible Story Of How Target Exposed A Teen Girl’s Pregnancy With Sophisticated Market Research >
The route to answering the big questions these days—like, soda or pop?—is to grab a bunch of data from Twitter and analyze it. Which is exactly what Edwin Chen, a data scientist at Twitter, decided to do.
In the map above (click for a larger image) blue is soda, green pop and red coke. Chen explains how he went about the task:
To make this map, I sampled geo-tagged tweets containing the words “soda”, “pop”, or “coke”, performed some state-of-the-art NLP technology to ensure the tweets were soft drink related (e.g., the tweets had to contain “drink soda” or “drink a pop”), and filtered out coke tweets that were specifically about the Coke brand (e.g., Coke Zero).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the word “soda” is dominant on the coasts, “pop” in the midwest, and “coke” in the southeast. What’s interesting around the world map, however, is seeing that outside the US—particularly in Europe—the word “coke” has penetrated culture in a way that the words “pop” and “soda” haven’t. While that not only shows consumerism is alive and well, it’s also a nice little reminder of the power of Twitter data to not only provide hard numbers, but cultural insight, too. [Edwin Chen via Flowing Data]
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest natural coral formation on Earth and you’ll soon be able to see it in all its glory—from your desk.
The Catlin Seaview Survey, a collaboration between Google, the University of Queensland, and the Caitlin Group, will perform a diagnostic on the reef system’s health via a panoramic underwater photographic and video survey. The program has already taken some preliminary surveys, though the group plans to undertake the projects main component—three surveys begin at 20 points around the reef—in September.
Images will be captured by a 360-degree camera (actually four conveniently positioned fish-eye lens SLR’s) affixed to the front end of an Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) for shallow surveys, and robotic subs for surveys between 30 and 100 meters. The group hopes to also study how and if the migratory behavior of tiger sharks, green turtles and manta rays has been affected by global warming.
Starting today Internet users should be able to access these images via Google Street View and will also be able to watch video of each study section on YouTube. [University of Queensland via New Scientist]
Image: Caitlin Seaview Survey
Another day, another story about some cheap, plastic Wii motion control accessory finding an application outside of gaming. In this case, it’s the balance board, and not only is this device helping stroke victims recover, it’s saving them money, too.
In fact, doctors at the University of Melbourne found that the balance board, normally used for pseudo Yoga or navigating Mii’s down a virtual ski slope, was so sensitive it could very well replace traditional laboratory-grade “force platforms” doctors use to assess a patient’s balance.
When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of “excellent” quality. “I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up,” said lead researcher Ross Clark, in an interview with New Scientist.
Even better, Clark’s team has already published a paper that verifies the Wii balance board is “clinically comparable” to the nearly $18,000 lab force platform. That’s great news for many smaller physio clinics that would otherwise be unable to afford the traditional rig. [New Scientist]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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