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Today at Advertising Week 2009, Robin Domeniconi, Vice President of US Sales for Microsoft Advertising, will unveil a proof-of-concept prototype business tool, “code-named LookingGlass,” that lets companies listen to, participate in, and analyze social media.
We chatted to Jamey Tisdale, group product marketing manager for the platform strategy group in Developer & Platform Evangelism and Marc Mercuri who’s the team’s director of business innovation, who said the project, code-named "LookingGlass," will let companies listen to, participate in, and analyze social media. It is a proof-of-concept prototype that harnesses the Microsoft platform to demonstrate how businesses can quickly and efficiently put social media to use as they create advertising. It’s a prototype of a social media business platform, "What we're trying to do is to make social media actionable for businesses."
LookingGlass is part of a broader shift under way within the platform strategy group. For the past two years, the group has been driving strategy around how to move marketing and advertising into the software-plus-services arena. "The proof-of-concept we wanted to build was to connect business data with advertising data and bring social media into the equation," Tisdale told us. That way you can mine social media sites for information and then use that information to act. "If you do that, it settles a hot topic and makes things actionable that weren't actionable before."
The first step in making social media data useable is listening to the conversation. LookingGlass, which is built on a number of Microsoft technologies, lets users track customer sentiment across an array of social media sites. For example, the Zune HD marketing team could use LookingGlass to see what users are saying about the product in real time on Twitter, Flickr, or YouTube. Using technology from Microsoft Research, LookingGlass automatically rates each posting as positive or negative, so the Zune HD team could rank comments according to sentiment and see how customers are responding to the product and the campaign to sell it.
Under the Zune example, the team could use LookingGlass to post a quick response on Twitter or Facebook. With all that information, businesses will be able to participate in conversations taking place on the social Web or start new ones. At a glance, they'll be able to see a spike in activity and to pinpoint how their campaigns are being received. marc enthused that that's what gives LookingGlass its power "You can not only identify whether your message is on target or not, you can discover memes or customer segments that you're presently unaware of."
Jamey & Marc In NYC for Ad Week
LookingGlass will be available via a Web browser and, courtesy of Microsoft's Silverlight technology, will provide a rich, interactive experience on both Windows-based PCs and Macs. This is particularly important for the advertising audience, which generally has a mix of both platforms among their key staff.
While many tools in the social space focus on the individual, LookingGlass can empower individuals and marketing teams as they monitor and engage social media information from one central location. Rather than giving a handful of people access to the company's social media accounts, LookingGlass enables all team members to access the platform at once. Members can flag certain messages and task one another with responding. Jamey said this feature could help internal product teams quickly become aware of, and respond to, bugs in the products.
With LookingGlass, businesses can overlay advertising, sales, support, and other key business information onto their Web sites. And because it is built using Microsoft SQL Server 2008, LookingGlass readily integrates with other internal data. Marketers can then look at how internal data compares with, say, user sentiment of a product on Twitter or other social networking sites. They can then take targeted actions and enhance their investment of participating in social media.
This allows businesses to analyze their advertising investments in new ways. The emphasis is that LookingGlass is its own platform, which plays to Microsoft's strength. "Microsoft is uniquely qualified to be able to connect business information with social media information in a way that makes it actionable," said Jamey. Partners will be also able to build on top of the Microsoft platform to add their own insights and information for their clients.
"If we at Microsoft can change the discussion from banner ads to how do you provide a rich, relevant experience on the Web, we can start having a better business conversation. With LookingGlass, and some of the other proof-of-concepts we're working on, we're taking a big step toward changing that conversation."
Robin's session - Social Networking 2.0: Brands Get Into the Game - will be this afternoon at 2-2:45pm at The Times Center, 242 W. 41st St.
Make sure you follow the rest of the happenings at Advertising Week 2009.
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Sounds very exciting Mel - when will we be able to get our hands on a beta?
Dan - just proof-of-concept right now. Keep checking back here for news though.... Cheers Mel
Can't wait for Robin's session this afternoon at Advertising Week. We'll be tweeting from the session and will be bringing you video coverage of the session a little later this week. So stay tuned.
Now that sounds like a great tool. Cannot wait to get my hands on it!
so if i get this right, any one can use it? what is the price of the product...love to get our agencies hand on the tool and try it out.
An online community is first and foremost a social experience that changes according to who is present, the number of people involved, and the type of discussion that occurs.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, social networking sites tend to foster an narcissistic experience, where users goals become to collect friends, feedback, and attention.
We would love to be part of the test group to try out with some of our clients.
We're excited your excited! Just to re-iterate though this is one of many proofs-of-concepts we're working on. Check back here often, follow us on Twitter @MSAdvertising and we'll have news for you when we have it! :-)
Why do companies always try and dominate cncepts that are meant for individuals... How to ruin Twitter - get companies to automate their Tweets. I'm really not interested in this sort of solutions.
What CEO's have to do to improve their relationship with their customers is start Tweeting... stop automating and start tweeting... we're listening... but we won't stand for the same old corporate speak.
I like the name - "Looking glass". It's interesting
Looks like a really neat tool.
I agree with Guy. Our company is working on a social networking presence, but it is important to us that we remain personal with our customers.
It seems that companies are turning to social media because it provides a fresh audience and voice, we don't need to stifle that voice as quickly as it gets started with the same old same old hard sell tactics that consumers today have grown tired of and have proven will not work with them any longer. They expect a personal experience and we need to find a way to incorporate these social medias in such a way as to not alienate but rather build confidence.
Can't wait to see the new tool.
Sounds promising! I'm following you on Twitter, but is there an email list I could sign up for as well? I'd really like to keep informed.
Thanks everyone for your continued positive feedback!
Guy - this is not a Tweet automation tool but a social media monitoring and management solution. This is about understanding where conversations about your brand are happening, learning from them or engaging in them in order to improve you products and services.
Microsoft is very active in the Twittersphere - @MelCarson @MajorNelson @Marky98 and many more wefollow.com/.../microsoft
We've just posted the video of the demo presentation here:
Liz - keep an eye on this blog and we'll keep you up-to-date