analytics, influence, metrics, social networks

Measuring non-profit contribution: @JaimeStein ‘s impact on #Climb4Cord

Jaime Stein represents a new breed of non-profit campaign contributors – one whose efforts can be easily hidden by traditional fundraising measurements.

A 2013 Case Study in Non-profit fundraising [or should we call it contribution raising?]

@JaimeStein is deeply involved in #Climb4Cord; a fundraising event where a select group of executives climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Canadian Blood Services ambitious project to raise funds for a national public umbilical cord blood bank.  This event just happened in August 2013 and the whole team raised an impressive $350K.

By traditional measurement, Jaime was listed as the third top fundraiser (last time I checked)  – a wonderful achievement given the aggressive goals and fundraising achievements of his colleagues in #ClimbforCord.  [let’s give pause to recognize all of them who signed up to climb the side of a massive mountain and committed to raising >$1K]


I first became aware of @JaimeStein ‘s efforts – as he announced his 6 – 8 month long training program and invited friends to sign up in a Google Calendar for one of his weekly training hikes in Toronto #KiliHikeTO.    I had the pleasure of walking with @JaimeStein on April 11  <- his blog captures this.

I count Jaime among the new breed of social wunderkind – who are as active outside of their emploi as they are inside it.  Folks who expertly leverage social media or technology partnership to advance their personal ambitions  ( like the impressive @sneiditee @hessiejones @mmonaa @helenandrolia @natandmarie or @greenwooddavis ).  Among his many efforts, Jaime participated in #BeerHikeTO evenings with friends, secured awareness, commitment and generous donation from ING Direct and worked with good folks from Roadpost to secure satellite technology ( DeLorme inReach satellite communicators) to test and send progress of his trek back through social media channels.  [Jaime’s blog post on the very cool technology here].   He no doubt contributed to the over 3100 mentions on twitter, 27 blog posts and over 192 news articles covering the climb.  [sysomos for #climb4cord, #beerhikeTO, #kilihikeTO in the last 12 months].  The folks tweet sharing Jaime’s climb messages included some great Canadian twitspokespeople – the @CEO_INGDIRECT, @DaveoHoots, @CTVCanadaAM, Erica @YummyMummyClub.

Jaime created tremendous awareness and consideration for #Climb4Cord – of course, he was the lead for social media efforts for the climb – but still contributions well beyond revenue.  I think someone like Jaime is needed on every major non-profit fundraising (contribution) drive.  The trick will be to identify the ‘influencer’ properly (recommended reading of @DannyBrown @SamFiorella ‘sInfluence Marketing book as a great start)

But in reviewing the donation website, I was stuck that Jaime’s other efforts were not affecting his ‘rank’ as a fundraiser – and yet – by blogging, running Twitter events, inviting Canadians to joining his personal training – he was likely creating far more impact than revenue.    Most fundraising goals are clearly expressed in dollars — and yet, for a non-profit that also relies on generating awareness of a new cord blood bank and encouraging personal cord  (and blood) donations, non-revenue metrics must be valued as much as generating revenue.   I’m certain Jaime’s efforts are not lost on Canadian Blood Services – they have come across influence marketing in its truest form.  Jaime is personally connected to the cause and happens to be a brilliant marketer (in social and otherwise).  It may just be the website and measurement had not yet caught up to fundraiser like Jaime.   Yet, I am left wondering if there are other non-profits who have yet to measure efforts like Jaime’s  – who is ushering in new levels campaign contribution.

Let me know your thoughts.


analytics, Facebook, insights, metrics, social networks, visualizations

The curve of your #FACEbook; 4 common #facebook #insight curves demystified

By now, I’ve looked at many, many Facebook insights curves working with various brand pages and I’ve come to notice a pattern in what I see.  Here is an explanation of four common Facebook insight curves or charts.  Understanding these patterns will help with understanding the success of Facebook pages.  This is likely of most interest to community managers or analytic geeks.

First a quick recap of the main units of measure on these charts.

  • People Talking About This or “TAT” includes all engagement metrics that Facebook allows – liking a post, sharing it, commenting, presumably any liking per comment and *liking a page*.  I don’t think it is the best measurement of engagement but it is what Facebook allows us to see.
  • New likes per week – indicates any new liking activity for your page.   Why Facebook adds “per week” on this unit and not the other, I don’t know.

Consider that these units of measure are presented as though they are daily activity – but they are NOT.  Each point on the graph represents a rolling 7 day week of data.  So that means the Sept 20th data is actually 7 days of activity ending on Sept. 20th (so Sept. 13 – Sept 20th).  Then Sept 21th is represented by data from Sept 14 – 21.  This is frustrating because true daily activity is muted somewhat.  I’m not sure why Facebook does this nor can I find articles on why using 7 day rolling data would be advantageous over using daily data.  If you have an opinion – please enlighten me!

Also consider that the TAT number contains any liking of a page – which is what the ‘new likes per week’ is all about.  So we are comparing two curves, one containing the other curve within it so we have to deduce that the visual gap between the two curves represents the “success” of the content.

Of course, a liked post can be generated by cheap, low involvement engagement e.g. what is your favorite colour vs. answering a consumer inquiry.  I see tons of ‘cheating’ questions – to the tune of “like this if you put socks on in the morning” – and community managers report that as successful content because facebook monkeys click “like” on the post but it does nothing for building deeper connections with a brand page.  [rant]   So despite charts, there will always be a need for further analysis into the context of the engagement.

Onto the curves.

The Newbie Chart

This is the chart to an unidentified, brand new facebook page.  Our natural cues to its newbie status would be the start of content & number of facebook likes on the actual page (not depicted here).   In looking at this Facebook insights curve,  you see new like and ‘talking about this’ [TAT]  following together.  This is because for every new like, Facebook also records it within their  “TAT”number.  So the TAT number is driven almost entirely by new likes.    Then the community manager took a break – and with a young page, every thing – liking the page & engagement crashes.  But then content reappears which looks like it appeals to the existing fan base.   We see the curves diverge.

The Contest Driven Chart

Contests are the easiest way to ‘cheat’ at Facebook fan (like) growth.  So many many do it and wonder why their community isn’t reflecting the people brands care about.  At the same time, it is a tactic – a reasonable fast one to gain critical mass.  Critical mass allows brands to get into a decent social graph – reaching friends of friends – otherwise the brand is in a room talking to itself.   With a contest under belt,  its a crowded party but possibly in the wrong bar, with the wrong crowd.

So focus on the right half of this chart – we see two bumps with the gray ‘new likes’ line following the TAT line.  This is reflective of new people entering a contest.  It could also be a curve that reflects good content that encourages people to also like a page, but since we know the contest is going on, then know the curve.   At the same time  – there is a bit distance between the curves which indicates that the content either resonated with contest goers (it did, its the Swiffer ‘my man cleans’ t-shirt, Oct. 15) or that the contest asked visitors to do some kind of monkey task (it did, Swiffer’s advertising ‘show us the love or at least like us’).

The ad supported chart

Up, down, up, down… likely in concert with two waves of facebook advertising spend.   To me, the first bump suggests the first ad worked harder or was supported by some kind of like incentive.  The curve drops when the stimulus is removed, and re-appears with ad support (confirmed as I’ve seen the ads).    I don’t see this as a healthy facebook curve at all.  It is artificial – because it is not sustainable without advertising.

The ‘my content went viral’ chart

This is Red Bull’s facebook page – after its sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the stratosphere.   A brilliant capture of content from a brand, in my opinion.  Here we see the facebook curve coming off an ad spend, then the big bump on the right is the release of photos related to Felix.  The content is heavily shared – and although this is a rolling seven day picture, it seems to have been shared over time – given the evidence of new little spikes in the curve top.   As for new likes per week – there is traction.

What is interesting is that this chart represents a community of 32 million.  So the “new likes” are not what is driving the content here – it is the content being shared among the existing fan base – or so I expect.

Another ‘my content went viral’ chart

UK Bodyform’s very interesting video response to a disillusioned man was well received.  For a little community – the content got a lot of eyeballs.  It did not translate well into likes – although there are a few new likes at the right.  It may be that this community did not have a lot of content prior to the video – so the community saw this as a one time contribution, albeit awesome, but not enough to like the page.  That said – this is a page for feminine protection which wouldn’t get much public liking anyways.

I hope this helps with your perspectives on facebook insight charts and your measurement of facebook pages.  Drop me a comment if there is a curve pattern that I could include.

digital strategy, google, metrics, social networks, strategy

Recap on @Avinash: Influence, experience and value #Google ‘s #ThinkPerformance

@iamstevetay 's photo from the dayToday’s Google #ThinkPerformance in Toronto offered a wonderful line-up of trailbrazers from @avinash @simonrodigue @mitchjoel Claira Bara, Matt Ackley and more.

People vocal about emerging trends, how to use data to drive business decisions, vocal on stupid digital experiences, stupid advertising spends and suggestions on what to do tomorrow.  A host of impressive smarketers who measure what matters.   Many of these fine speakers are deserved of stock from Google, from Facebook, from their own organizations for being better spokespeople than many an ineffectual media.

Take one of my favorite speakers +Avinash Kaushik delights the audience with a review of Canadiana – providing a little open season on those online experiences – Canadian Tire, Retail Council of Canada, among others that are not up to snuff.

He begins with a Toronto Star article on “Allowing retailers to stay open on holidays” – a story of Toronto council trying to open retail for nine statutory holidays..  “Why open on Canada Day?”  he quips.. and points out online commerce – that stores are already open 24 hrs a day.   Many in the audience are nodding.  Indeed, Canada’s e-commerce business is expected to double to $30B by 2015.

Already – with these opening remarks, I feel like I’m in a room of my own kind – especially when I hear laughs about “hits”,

Thanks to @drafted_boy for phone capture

“impressions”, “clicks” – metrics that mean absolutely nothing but are still well embedded into company vernacular.  I personally correct every individual I meet that uses the term ‘hits’ – as it is my personal indicator that the person knows nothing of analytics and what they speak.

Avinash’s presentation focused on three elements he is quite passionate about..

  1. Influence
  2. Experience
  3. Value

Influence – this is *not* a discussion of Klout.. (whew but of course not..) Influence was the idea of understanding influence at its roots… where do you find the people who spend time and understand your brand?   He then presented the print newspaper ad revenue over the past 100 years – credit, did you catch it?, given to Mark J Perry’s Blog Carpe Diem.  As Mark J Perry describes it – this chart is “another one of those huge Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction”.   Picture a steep climb and, with the last ten years, the drop.

And just where are the budgets moving to?  23% of consumer time spent is on mobile.  The crrrriiime against HUMANITY – as Avinash declared – is that 1% of ad spend is on mobile.   Print with 6% of consumers time spent has 29% of ad spend.  At this point – he is preaching to the converted.  What will happen when the CMOs finally wake up to the massive waste of budget?  I wonder.

“The day I saw this.. was the day I started to pay for the NYtimes” says Avinash.. as the future of print lies in question if it seeks its revenue from ads.

So.. Avinash is back to his passions – how do you find people (nice reference to Google), how do you influence them (brilliant experience), how do you convince people (and a tie to the importance of creating value).

Experience – I wish I could add audio clips to my blog.. imagine Avinash say.. “I am passionate about developing magnificent, brilliant experiences..” and  “I am ashamed on behalf of the internet” “stop the self-orgasms.. always let me [as a consumer] go first [enjoy the experience]”.

His reference is to Canadian Tire’s interrupt survey which appeared during the purchase funnel asking over 258 options before he can buy what he wanted.  Avinash is quite tough on websites, the financial realities Canadian retailers face in funding brilliant experiences is not the same easy street as American retailers face.. still putting a survey in the purchase funnel isn’t a cost mistake, it’s a stupid mistake.

thx to @drafted_boy

Value  – Now onto metrics worth measuring.  Avinash reminds the audience, just because we can measure clicks does not make it meaningful.   Same with impressions and hits.  Stupppid he advises.   What does it tell us of value?  Nothing.

thx to @drafted_boy

Avinash shares his favorite metrics.. bounce rate, a single page visit, is the same as they came, they puked, they left.  He speaks of more.. but what caught my interest was a few new classifications of old favorites

  • Super Awesome metrics (see pix)
  • Share of search:  a brand’s SEM/SEO key term performance versus your competition.  TD Bank got slammed here for Avinash used about 20 different key terms – “small business loan”, etc and TD did not appear in paid nor organic findings.  Avinash shared a print ad for the Bay (I think) for Nautica clothes – yet a google search for the same item was not turning up Bay results.. As Avinash stated  “no.. you are too far down the funnel.. you are ready to buy..”
  • Task Completion Rate:  Interrupt survey to web visitors – presumably not during the purchase process – asking “were you able to complete your task?”
  • Near term, medium and long term metrics:  ensuring a tiered focus to measurement.  A nice reminder

And new for this year, Avinash suggested four new metrics for social activity.

  • Amplification Rate:  no retweets per post,
  • Conversion rate – comments per post
  • Applause rate – no of favorites per post
  • Economic value – value generated per visitor – eg. visits via social referral and conversions assisted by social.

He showed this plotted by social network – so that we might compare the value generated by network.  This is also found in Avinash’s blog post and worthy read “best social media metrics”

All in all, Avinash kicked off a day long focus on the value of data to inform marketing decisions.

Many thanks to Google for putting together such a valued session.

digital strategy, metrics, social networks, speaker, strategy

What’s holding brands back from becoming social: staffing & measurement

The future of social media is in the shift from ‘doing social’ to ‘being social’.

Today – there are many owners of social media, let alone digital, within an organization.  Social media forces marketing, PR, customer service, and other departments to work together.

When you get many owners of social, the business starts to understand how social plays an intimate role in what they do.  That social is a behavior, a philosophy, a new way of operating and not a simple tactic –  that social evolves from a function to a discipline.   When business understand this, they will shift.

Employees will become digital citizens, its experts surfaced to its consumers, and act socially on an enterprise level.

But the pathway to becoming social is held back for two major reasons:

1.  Social media is relegated to a junior person on the marketing and PR team.

Importantly, I’m not trying to undermine what often is a passionate, intelligent,  social savvy crusader.   Social moves forward in a companies due to a crusader, a crisis or executive level support.   But that said, the crusader method of organizational change is a rare one.

My rant — as a result of a junior appointment,  these social media leaders deal with rounding error budgets, may have engagement that is more damaging to the brand than helpful.  They focus on tactics not strategies  (Should I advertise on Linkedin?, I have followers on foursquare, now what do I do?.. you know the situation).  They are operational players and may not even be responsible for strategy.  They often measure the wrong things.

When you understand that the future of social is becoming a social brand – you see that the number of digital owners must increase.  There will be required alignment to strategies and plans.  Cross functional leadership puts a heavy load on a junior social media individual.   These social media specialists are promoted to their level of incompetence.

2. People measure the wrong things in social media
I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to measurement.  I believe measurement is a systemic, abominable situation in most organizations.  Really.

When I measure for success, I focus on  4-5 different categories.  Market, Recruitment, Engagement and Conversion/ Monetization.

  • Recruitment, or traffic includes the volume and size of your social presence, your rate of growth, hopefully compared to the industry.
  • Engagement typically includes metrics that measure the level of interaction between your customers and your content and/or own community management.   You can dive deeper into analyzing influencers, etc.
  • Conversion represents a focus on moving customers to action.  You can include or separate out monetization metrics.  [I like separating then – consider relabeling KPI – key performance indicators to key purchase indicators – it gives focus to what metric individuals are looking for]
  • Other – where I can, I like cross reference metrics to validate the integrity of the data.. but I digress.

The problem with much of the social media success metrics – is traffic is the domain that people stay in.  They don’t broaden to look past traffic to engagement and conversion metrics.  They only measure, and so are only concerned with, 1/3 of their success.    These tend to be the same people who don’t believe SoMe can deliver ROI.  Well no wonder.

This was the crux of a recent keynote I delivered at IBM’s Retail Fall Showcase recently, invited by retail futurist, former colleague and friend @drodgerson – sharing the stage with two very impressive gods – deep analytical genius @eeksock and global retail emerging tech deep sme @smarterretail.   I was grateful to be honest with a crowd of 200 retailers/ibmers on my frustrations.   My full presentation is available from my linkedin profile – through slideshare.. [linked above].  Presentations from the event are also available.

Klout, metrics, social networks

Klout – emergence of social influence metrics & interview with founder Joe Fernandez

Klout rates the social influence of individuals in social media.   oooooooo.   This is an inflection point in social media (metrics anyways).  The founders of Klout are working on the first application that measures social influence and so introduces an algorithm for determining which social media bloggers/tweeters/fans, etc are creating the strongest influence.  For brands, politicians, media – whatever your poison – can now understand those who influence the crowd.

Importantly, Klout has only integrated twitter and facebook so other social medias, like Linkedin or blogs, are yet to come.   AND… Klout has an API – which means that developers can integrate the Klout score of individuals into their services.   Hootsuite, the popular twitter client for instance, has klout scores integrated into the profiles of individuals.  There is rumour that Google will also be factoring in Klout in its own algorithms – which raises the voice of the influential.

Understanding klout is worthwhile and although I would hesitate to run a Klout perk program without ample investigation or verifying of influencers – unlike how some in the industry are starting to (and hats off pending your investment in this new area) – I do watch the growth – 1500 companies are using its API, people are adding klout profiles to their linkedin profiles (I did!) and young americans are putting scores on resumes.

I emailed Klout founder Joe Fernandez some questions following a tweet chat that he attended:

LDS:  How will Klout account for national or regional differences in social media usage? For example, Canadians just do not use twitter lists as much as Americans do – and while we might get there, it is hard to rate a Canadian using American metrics to determine influence.  Of course, Canadians are heavily into Facebook more than most nations – and so this too requires balancing.  I think, over time, Justin Bieber would become less of a poster child – assuming he does not leverage across multiple social networks.

JF:  This is a big challenge.  It’s gets even harder when you look at how people using twitter in indonesia or brazil.  We use a model based approach so that we can have lots of features and have the weights between them be dynamic based on different factors of the account.  This is something we’ll need to get really good at. 

LDS: I also notice a lot of follower gamers. @SiDawson from Australia has a neat little program called Twitcleaner which highlights the potential garbage in someone’s following.  I could see Klout offer something like this – to not only measure klout but manage klout.

JF:  Yeah, there is tons of follower gamers.  We actually don’t look at followers in the calculation at all.

LDS:  Last question – how do you isolate influencers for a particular brand?  I can look up individuals but if I wanted to know the most influencial on coffee, for instance – would I do that thru social media monitoring then take those with authority and cross reference into Klout?  It seems arduous.

JF:  We do this behind the scenes and use it to target our campaigns.  There really isn’t a great way to do it on the site right now.  We have a new version of the site coming though and this will be a big part of it.


I’ve been tweeting a *lot* about Klout – and at the request of a number of folks – I will summarize some of excellent discussions, blogs and information that I’ve found on Klout:

  1. Oliver Blanchard’s piece on Understanding Klout’s measurement spectrum
  2. Jason Baker’s piece on Klout..become standard online influence measurement tool  , interview with Klout marketing director.

My past tweets:

metrics, social networks, strategy

Don’t be impulsive on the impulse for social media

I’ve had a series of interesting meetings in the last few weeks with rather large organizations – belonging to three different industries including health care, big ticket consumer goods and, an old favorite, home building (condominium development/real estate).   And although the needs were different, there was a common veil and almost desperation to do something in social media.

In all three meetings the marketing leadership knew that social media was upon them and was required in their marketing planning.  And yet, there was no real understanding of where to start or what to budget – and sometimes, what questions to ask.

I’ve had past clients assume that step one would be setting up a corporate facebook fan page – which is not always the case.  Before rushing in.. I always like to start with tried and true…. for instance

  • what are your business and marketing objectives and how does digital feed them (which is often my question to answer)
  • what are your target markets, their needs, wants and behaviours?
  • What loyal and sizable networks exist today that need a place for loyalty (and so potentially for social networking)?
  • What pain points exist in your customer experience?  What creates churn and loyalty in that experience?
  • How well are your current digital efforts serving you? (which leads to analytics and performance evaluation)

There is more to do than what I suggest above as I haven’t touched on organizational readiness nor a technology tool set review.  But importantly, I do advise not to jump to social media vehicle selection before understand what goals are to be achieved.    Its a wild west out there – and strategy has to lead.

Blogging, metrics, roi, social networks

The blogging contest that almost killed my Christmas

I recently competed in an international blogging contest in Dec 2009.  Truth be told… by entering an international blogging contest during year end with the Community Marketing Blog – called Blog Off II or #blogoff ,  I wasn’t aiming for gold so much as I wanted to gain greater insight into what makes for a better blog and how people would determine a best of breed blogger.   And as  I’ve never blogged as a competitive sport,  I did gain a lot of great learning on what to put in a blog post, blog title to maximize readership and interaction.

I submitted four original stories in twelve days, all well researched, carefully crafted posts.  And spent other days just reading the mass blog posting from other contestants, relishing in quality content.  I was judged to be among the top ten bloggers at contest end though I am always skeptical on measurement.  The contest held in twelve days in December seriously threatened my ability to shop before Christmas but it was important for me. With today’s focus on social networking, I find the very powerful world of blogging somewhat neglected.  I wanted to advance my skills here and blogging in an international contest was just the ticket.

The contest itself had an impressive setup – 25 approved candidates, six countries all using Typepad (oh god.. not my choice publisher) and supported by 1 official writer (Conrad Hall from Technorati) and the caveat that some blog posts would make it to the Huffington Post for publishing during the contest.

I captured a number of lessons worthy of sharing here:

1. Blogging is definitely a competitive sport – title choice, image use, linking, seeding has become more intensive, more commercial that I  realized.  My blogging experience is in personal blogs since 2006 and corporate blogs since 2007, aimed at mostly post purchase customers.  Both environments are not competitive per se.  But with the noise of the blogosphere, blog posts are fighting hard with National Enquirer title ferocity.

I gained this insight with my first post called Sex, Statistics and Social Media – a cheeky jest because I know from that popular tags can result in a lot of enduring traffic (not necessarily quality traffic) but this was more of a jest.  Jesting was perhaps inappropriate but I was trying to figure out how to compete when my focus in social media has been on collaboration.   Fortunate for me I received some quality comments from Conrad Hall, a professional writer and technorati writer.

“You can quickly give this article added interest and value by showing readers 2 or 3 ways for managing the time they spend on social media. Thanks Laurie. You have a good post with a solid foundation. Looking at it from the reader’s perspective – what’s in it for them – will make it stronger.” he opines

I countered that I don’t always want to suggest the 10 ways to improve something.. as I get quite sick of commercialized tweets and posts.   And so Conrad responded with a beautiful blog post demonstrating what he was suggesting in his comments.  The title?  On social media, prostitution and bartending.

Which leads to lesson no. 2. Groom the post for those who enter the site by the site door – directly to the post itself and not the blog.  [This is an important web design strategy as well as side door entry is prominent for well connected or linked content]

I really liked Conrad Hall’s personalized photo and short bio in the closing.  A great idea for a multiple author blog.

3.  Your blog post is easily buried and fast.

I worked hard on creating original content for my second post – Keeping the Personal Private. using Facebook Limited Profiles Upon posting it, another contestant added EIGHT consecutive posts.  The contest had a maximum of 12 post entries but no mention of adding eight posts in a row.  I was mildly tiffed at what couldn’t have been original, on the spot created eight posts but then – how is this not like real life?   Of course a day later Facebook announced new privacy rules which dominated the blogsphere on my tags.   I did get a number of great comments.. Ah this is real life.

4.  To spam or not to spam in efforts of securing greater traffic & comments in a contest.

One of the key metrics in evaluating bloggers was the amount of traffic and engagement -as measured by visits and comments – a post generated.   In my mindseye – I saw this as the clever use a tagging, digging, linking, tweeting to broaden the blog post touchpoints.  What I didn’t realize was how much other bloggers would rely on their personal networks to jam up their own posts with comments and traffic.

I’m rather opposed to spamming my network – linkedin, twitter, facebook – with explicit requests to comment on a blog due to a contest.  I value my network greatly and though I announced being in a contest and then tweets my blog posts, I didn’t spam my network.   I just was very nervous about making a request that would affect my fans, friends, followers.  And I wanted to reserve my assertive requests for charitable interests.   So when I received the following linkedin message from one of the winners of the contest, I started to debate blog post measurement.


I also would ask that you forward this message to anyone that you can think of, as of now I think I am still in 3rd place. You know how competitive I am and I really would love to win this contest it will certainly help my career and status in my field. I have already been asked to do seminars and workshops both in regards to Product Development and also Advertising/Marketing so all the help you have done for me already has brought me to a whole new level and for that I cannot thank you enough. Once again THANK YOU. If you have any social media Follow Me the links are under my signature line!

Importantly, these are not new thoughts.  I shared these thoughts with my fellow contestants, including the one above, and we had a lively debate which managed to move the needle on my skepticism dial a bit.  {not all the way but the needle did move].

Andrew Ballenthin, the organizer of this blogging contest, discussed active vs passive loyalty of people’s networks.  He considered the open solicitation for network loyalty (action) as a desirable action.  That this comment/traffic spike is something natural expected from bloggers.  Certainly, if one looks at the top ten retweets words – you will find ‘my blog post’ as one of them.  Andrew carries and important message here.

I did debate whether or not spike traffic would be sustainable traffic – likely not if there is little value in the spike.  Nonetheless, Andrew put a lot of time into considering the angles I put forth and came up with a recipe on measuring bloggers and their posts tactics should be evaluated.

5. It must be nearly impossible to control for a contest in a blogging environment. [ or anything goes..]

Okay so during the actual contest, Conrad promoted several blog posts and a specific blogger .   I challenged this in the comments:

I can’t help wondering how traffic can be used objectively as a measure of success in this contest when this post is now promoting some posts and not others. I say this more out of curiosity than anything else – given my nod to other deserving posts. – Laurie

and it sparked a very good debate with Conrad and Sam, one of the winning bloggers, on blogging metrics – which I’d recommend people to read the comments.

At heavy risk of sounding like a sore loser here and god, who wants to pick a fight with someone as eloquent and sharp witted as Conrad, the professional writer – I don’t really get the promotion of blog posts during the contest by a judge of the contest, during the contest.  More importantly, I think it very important to debate metrics – to make sure what measured truly matters.

6. There is wonderful community found in competition

I’ve made some wonderful contacts and blogging among some greats who do, in all their deserved colours of the win, get traffic that shames a website.  I enjoyed the contest and look forward to seeing Andrew Ballenthin and his Community Marketing Blog release a third contest.

Incidentily – my third and fourth posts were

Six visualization sources you should know about

Using twitter? Then you’d better understand the twitter list.

Laurie Dillon-Schalk is the Chief Marketing Strategist and founder of Social Wisdom – a Toronto based digital marketing agency that helps firms and individuals use social media and the web wisely.

You can find Laurie on Twitter at or on her blog at

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