Sunday, October 21, 2012

Social Media @ Wal-Mart – Social Gifting Facebook Application Shopycat Case Study

Wal-Mart has a very active Facebook page where it has close to 23 million likes, close to million visitors to the page and according to a statement from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he and his top management team travelled to Bentonville, Arkansas to "deepen" its relationship with Wal-Mart. The relationship between Facebook/Wal-Mart is very lucrative for both parties considering the fact that Facebook has one billion monthly users. @WalmartLabs is developing tools and technologies that will help Wal-Mart analyze the relevant information hidden in the hundreds of millions of social media conversations occurring online every day and through mapping social DNA of social networks users and sort through posts, updates, likes, comments looking to target products based on the genome. WalmartLabs defines the "Social Genome" as "a giant knowledge base that captures entities and relationships of the social world.

In November, 2011, WalmartLabs launched an application for Facebook called Shopycat, which currently has close to 20,000 likes or roughly one-hundredth of one percent of Wal-Mart's Facebook likes. WalmartLabs says the Shopycat app "makes gift giving less stressful and more fun "by analyzing their Facebook activity through likes, shares and posts using our Social Genome technology." Shopycat tries to figure out from a person’s Facebook profile what they’re most interested in, but also then has to find that product and match it to a link online. Shopycat is the first social shopping application from Wal-Mart’s recently-formed @WalmartLabs unit which is focused on developing platforms, products and businesses around social and mobile commerce. Along with products from and Wal-Mart, Shopycat matches users' interests to a catalog that includes other sites like bookseller Barnes & Noble and gifts store RedEnvelope.

According to Wal-Mart case study where they studied customer acquisition by Wal-Mart through its Facebook social gifting application called Shopycat. Ifeelgoods worked with @WalmartLabs to build the user base for Shopycat. In the initial month-long campaign, Ifeelgoods hosted a seamless user experience that gave 10 Facebook credits to users that allowed the Shopycat application and for preventing fraud credits were direct deposited into eligible users’ Facebook accounts. As an added service, Ifeelgoods assisted with driving targeted traffic to the promotion by displaying ads via the Ifeelgoods publisher network, ultimately managing campaign performance for @WalmartLabs. There was a good 42% conversion rate for users allowing Shopycat and a 27% redemption rate on the credits offer, which highlight campaign success. 50% of users shared the Shopycat promotion with their friends, and that viral earned media traffic flow generated an incremental lift in conversions of 25%. The cost per new user was far less than campaign targets, and the users directed to Shopycat from the Ifeelgoods campaign stayed with the app, making up approximately 90% of the Shopycat user base. Shopycat application success has encouraged Wal-Mart to focus more on becoming social media retail mega player.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Social Media Adoption @ Fortune 500 Companies- @Wal-Mart Labs, Social Genome

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and the second largest company in terms of revenue according to the Fortune 500 2012. “Through the innovative fusion of retail, social and mobile, @WalmartLabs is redefining Commerce for the largest retailer worldwide”,according to the introduction on @WalmartLabs. Wal-Mart is developing tools and technologies that will help it analyze the relevant information hidden in the hundreds of millions of social media conversations occurring online every day and use it to understand consumer trends so that they can plan their product assortments, including new products to introduce and supply to secure. Wal-Mart acquired Kosmix, the company behind real-time Twitter filter site TweetBeat, medical search engine RightHealth, and topic-specific engine Kosmix for US$ 300 million and transformed the company into @WalmartLabs with an objective to create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce.

According to Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix, the company focused on developing a social genome platform that captures the connections between people, places, topics, products and events as expressed through social media — be it a feed, a tweet or a post. WalmartLabs defines the "Social Genome" as "a giant knowledge base that captures entities and relationships of the social world." Wal-Mart has been building their own in-house Social Genome since past few years with both public and private data from social media, tweets, Facebook messages, blog posts, You Tubes, it’s all streaming into Wal-Mart. Streaming in so fast, that WalmartLabs created something they call Muppet, a solution for processing Fast Data, using large clusters of machines. The Labs describes the Social Genome as their "crown jewel." Wal-Mart is essentially looking to combine data on purchase history with data from social networks with actual transaction history.

Wal-Mart is looking to transform itself into a social media retail mega player and it is investing millions of dollars into @WalmartLabs to develop new tools, applications and technologies and also acquire companies who are actively developing mobile and social media applications. Post Kosmix and its transformation into @WalmartLabs, the company acquired mobile point-of-sale app maker Grapple, location-aware mobile ad company OneRiot and a mobile app company called Small Society known for writing apps for clients like the Democratic National Committee and Starbucks. According to recent Wal-Mart press release the @WalmartLabs team continues to evolve Polaris a semantic search engine for browsing products and ease of shopping. In the past year, the group has created Shopycat, a social gift finder; Classrooms by Wal-Mart, a program to make back-to-school shopping easer; Get on the Shelf, a crowdsourcing contest to unearth new products for Wal-Mart; and Social Media Analytics, tools that use social chatter to select items to be carried by Wal-Mart. @WalmartLabs goal is to have Wal-Mart create the next great shopping experience by melding physical stores with online search and social media input.

Social Media adoption @ Fortune 500 companies – Exxon Mobil Perspective Blog, etc.

Exxon Mobil is the largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products in the world and was formed by the merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999. The company is also the world's largest company by revenue and largest publicly traded international Oil and Gas Company according to Fortune 500 2012. Exxon Mobil adopted various social media channels to be in touch with its customers and various other stakeholders. Since April 2006, Exxon Mobil has been active on YouTube and the channel has more than 1200 subscribers and close to 700,000 views. The official channel of the company has videos highlighting the real time updates of the company, employee videos, advertisement campaigns, and videos from the top management and leadership discussing various issues regarding the company and its products, environment issues, challenges and the company efforts.

Another major effort of Exxon Mobil is its Perspectives blog which is run by Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil's vice president of public and government affairs. The blog talks about company's views on the issues, policies, technologies and trends that are shaping the energy industry and Ken Cohen talks about ideas and actions from industry, governments, researchers and many others that affect the world of energy. The blog was started in November 2011 and it is widely followed and read by many people online. Exxon Mobil also has an official twitter account with close to 26,000 followers and more than 1000 tweets and the company only provides news about the company and various activities of the company in different locations. For further discussions, people are directed to Perspectives blog.

Exxon Mobil does not have an official Facebook page but there are many pages on Facebook that is filled with lot of negative criticism. The company does not seem to be interested in a Facebook page but is very active with a blog, Twitter account and YouTube channel. Exxon Mobil uses Facebook to aggressively market its flagship brand Mobil 1 — the world's leading synthetic motor oil. Mobil 1 Facebook page was launched in March 2008 and has close to 60,000 likes. With a focus on making new friends and market its brand along with a Facebook page, a dedicated channel on YouTube and an online game was launched enabling players to take part in a virtual race against Lewis Hamilton, awareness of the brand is going from strength to strength – the game alone has been played over five million times worldwide.

Exxon Mobil has also launched Apple iPad, iPhone and Android applications for their customers. The ExxonMobil application for iPad provides immediate access to ExxonMobil’s Perspectives Blog, a vital source of energy news and analysis, continually refreshed and relevant, and includes access to ExxonMobil’s library of publications, stock information, news, videos and more. Exxon and Esso Mobile Fuel Finder apps provide real-time maps, driving directions and station information for nearly 10,000 Exxon and Mobil retail locations across the continental United States and Europe. Overall Exxon Mobil is active on those social media platforms which it feels relevant for its engagement strategy with customers and other stakeholders.