Five key insights from LeWeb London 2012

Gavin Llewellyn at LeWeb London 2012

Although I was quite disappointed with my overall customer experience at LeWeb London last week, I did nevertheless take away some interesting insights from the event that are certainly worth sharing.

Is Google+ making progress?

Despite its big entrance onto the social scene a year ago today, what progress has Google+ made in the intervening 12 months? Who are their main competitors? Are mainstream audiences really buying into Google’s social offering?

Bradley Horowitz from Google talked about how Google+ can be seen as a way for users to ‘introduce’ themselves to Google. Information and data can then be leveraged by Google to provide better services through Local, mobile, AdWords and search.

Horowitz’s also suggested that Google+’s relatively late entrance into the social networking space might actually be an advantage over established rivals such as Facebook.

Whilst Facebook has had to learn the hard way (over privacy issues, for example), Google+ has had the luxury of seeing what works and what doesn’t and made advancements and improvements as a result.

However, surely this can only create a limited advantage in the short-term. Google+ will have to start making their own leaps of faith and continue to make innovative strides of their of their own to capture people’s imagination and time.

The jury’s still out on Klout

Joe Fernandez, founder and CEO at Klout (‘The Standard For Influence’) responded to questions from one of his company’s biggest critics, TechCrunch’s co-editor Alexia Tsotsi.

One of the main criticisms of Klout is that it has an imperfect, cryptic algorithm which doesn’t measure influence to the standard it aspires to. Many users get frustrated that after a few mentions of random words on Twitter (e.g. ‘sofas’ or ‘bikes’) they then become ‘influencers’ on those subjects. Not to mention that random changes in its algorithm has left some users with a much lower score for seemingly no reason at all.

Under some fairly aggressive questioning from Tsotsi, Fernandez explained that Klout is still early in an evolutionary process and that the algorithm will continue to change as improvements are made. Being effective within social media is becoming a critical skill and whilst the Klout score is by no means perfect it can still act as a barometer for social media influence.

Personally, I’ve never been a particularly big advocate of Klout myself. Whilst I have an account I do not pay a great deal of attention to my score because I believe we are still a long way off from being able to measure real social influence from an algorithm.

However, I do agree that Klout can play a part (albeit a small one) in measuring social influence and if so, should be used as one of many tools to reveal somebody’s overall influence in a particular subject or area of expertise.

Faster than real time

The theme for LeWeb London was Faster than real-time, based on the notion that not only can brands interact with people immediately but with the help of research, data and emerging technologies can now anticipate consumer’s needs and demands before they even know themselves!

Jeremiah Owyang’s keynote looked at how companies can benefit from anticipating market demands by considering two of Altimeter’s two main research themes – the Dynamic Customer Journey and the Sentient World.

Whilst the Dynamic Customer Journey isn’t new (I first read about this in the Harvard Business Review in January 2011), the Sentient World looked at a few interesting potential trends, including intelligent inanimate objects, the imminent arrival of augmented (e.g. via Google’s Project Glass), actively capturing data from consumers (e.g. through apps such as Foursquare and Highlight).

Charities are using social media to great effect

Many brands are using social media to great effect but once again encouraged to see the innovation in social media from non-profit and charity organisations such as Voice and The British Heart Foundation.

As part of the Social Business Track on the second day, British charities Voice and The British Heart Foundation revealed how they have been using social media marketing to promote their causes to win new donors and retain existing ones.

The stand-out case study for me was the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Hands Only CPR’ campaign from the beginning of this year featuring the former footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones.

The BHF’s use of social media is a perfect example of how social media can be used from the inception of a campaign, not as an afterthought once other media have already been considered. The ‘Hand Only CPR’ campaign generated conversation across the social web, raising awareness that resulted in reports that lives had been saved as a result of it.

Social business adoption is happening NOW!

Adobe’s Social Media Director Maria Poveromo provided an interesting insight into how the software giant has leveraged research from the Altimeter Group in the process of adopting an integrated approach to social business.

By aligning social media with business objectives, Adobe has created a ‘hub and spoke’ model and put social media at the very heart of the business, allowing social processes to spread organically across other areas of the business, including HR, customer support and marketing.

The social media 'Hub & Spoke' model

This ambitious approach has enabled Adobe to put a plan in place which has allowed the company to empower their employees across the globe to use social media to listen to their customer base and innovate.

An example of this would be the launch of Adobe’s Creative Suite 6. The company ‘ignited’ their 8 million strong social ecosystem to drive positive buzz, extend reach through live effects which consequently drove traffic and pre-orders. The result? three million YouTube views, six million web visits and a 10x ROI over a six week period.