|This post comes from a series of observations which seem to indicate a movement towards one-on-one, more personalized Web experiences that may not be consumed as intended by your customers and new audiences. We've seen it first-hand|
monitoring marketing campaigns running on Facebook and/or Twitter, which were meant to draw in crowds, new or loyal, young and old, to witness a brands online experience, having the opposite effect than was originally intended.
How does this happen? We've caught feedback rumblings of nagging login screens when trying to view fan/contest/event announcement pages, buggy interfaces, and/or pages which aren't loading content properly due to UI changes, or device/software limitations. Is this a campaign execution issue, or are we witnessing a chink in the business models of social media platforms, who may themselves be unsure, unsettled or divided on how to monetize their site and what they eventually want to be when they grow up?
Whatever the reasons, the result can be one that makes a shambles of your best laid plans, as everything may appear to be humming along nicely on the 3rd-party platforms, and on the screens and apps of in-house staff and managers, but are not producing anywhere near the kind of joyous and supportive bridge crossing experience for new audiences, whose first impressions of the company's online endeavours is one associated to annoying, frustrating and temperamental experiences.
This traverses to brand risks as well, which we touched on with our post on reputation blind spots. In another example, we've fielded concerned calls regarding botched plans which missed key elements of damaging and well orchestrated smear campaigns because their choice of road warrior device, used to keep a pulse on social media developments, was found unexpectedly, to be ill-equipped in loading the "full Web" experience needed to do their job properly.
We may have arrived at a point where the familiarity of a well-pitched software and/or tool, with their numerous conveniences and promises of greatness, have instead distorted our view of an online social reality that's taken us several steps back, to an era of software incompatibility, walled gardens, and an online bandwagon riding experience that may be well-lauded by cliques, peers and friends, but is exclusive and leaves passerby's and new business prospects feeling underwhelmed.
|Several months ago, we received a call from a client asking us if we had any advice to offer on a matter. It seemed a customer had contacted them explaining how they had "Googled" their brand name, and in the top 5 results, they had stumbled on an incident which alleged a serious issue with their company. They were already aware of the incident and were in the process|
of rectifying the issue, but when they had tried to repeat the search themselves using Google, they were not seeing any such incident appearing in their search results. This was one of the first in a series of discussions with numerous clients on the topic of personalized search.
The idea of geographically matching relevance to a users search criteria is not new. However the application, uses and the appearance of geographically restricted content has started to quickly surface as the race to deliver the most locally relevant and real-time results heats up. Google is still King as far as vanity searches go, and while the impact of personalized searches is shifting our understanding of relevance, it is also an emerging reputation blind spot that should not go unnoticed or ignored.
Content providers and search portals algorithmically restricting content based on geography is one aspect of the way the Web delivers content that is unique to each one of us. Every time you log in to a social networking platform or check your Gmail account, information is being collected that relationally ties your person, alias or online identity to online uses, visits, shares and interactions.
The combination of geographically restricted content can certainly be made more meaningful when an ad pops-up about our favourite Pub, which all too coincidentally is a name that's been dropped when conversing with friends via email about places to meet up after work.
Going back to the example with the client who couldn't replicate the same Google results their customer had contacted them about, if you run into a similar issue with a potential employer, your boss, a supplier, partner or client asking for an explanation on an incident you can't seem to locate in your own searches, then you might well be experiencing first-hand the reputation blind spots of personalized search.
If you use Gmail, log-out, clear your cache, and repeat the same search to compare previous search results you got when you searched while being logged-in. This seems to correct the situation most of the time as far as performing a Google vanity search. Broader searches on varying social media platforms may require a little more browser tweaking and heightened awareness of privacy filters and settings to override algorithmically edited and geographically restricted content.
One approach we have been using to counter the issue of personalized search blind-siding company's and brands not seeing the same results others are seeing is a feature in our RepuTrack toolset called the SEO View.
The SEO View is one of six views offered through RepuTrack, providing a summary view of incidents scored by tonality, geography, source type, and numerical rank (top 100), and this works to inform subscribers on the likelihood of negative incidents appearing in the first 10 pages of results when someone performs a vanity search in any of the widely used search engines.
The video below is just a little over 7 minutes in length, and shows the SEO View feature in action (makes it's appearance at 5:35 of the video):
RepuTrack™ monitors online media from Web sites, blogs, message boards, forums, chatrooms, microblogs, social networking sites, video and images worldwide.
To schedule a free online-demonstration of RepuTrack™, click here.
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