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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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@Guy, I see your perspective, but arguably, the consumer now has a strong(er) voice than before. In line with Karen's comments: SocNets facilitate 'dialog', and so the old "push" PR-strategies just seems like spam these days. Considering Seth Godin's "Tribe" philosophy, I think that it could also be argued that the 'group' a company targets for that 2-way communication is just as, if not more important than merely having a presence online.
The problem is out there and the market wants to pay to make this problem go away. The trouble I have…and it may just be me, is my “feeling” of unrest that Microsoft will solve it. I feel like it will be a VISTA experience.
I hope I am wrong
Mark Allen Roberts
Having been in Fortune500 firms for 11 years, (sales + IT) - amazing innovations never cease. From IT perspect, a new platform like Looking Glass, must've gone into R&D as a function of business strategy like; capitalize on soc media here at MicroSoft and then sell others that capability by which MS builds a new revenue stream. And - it sounds like from blogs that interest is heating up. Having tapped into the social side - we have orgs like CDD (Center for Digital Democracy) and many more including the feds, seeking to understand how deep marketers will dig into our personal identities on soc platforms and use it for targeting. Really interesting stuff!
Hi, I am not very social media-savvy, but I have heard about other monitoring tools such as Viral Heat or SocialSeek. I would like to know what new you have to offer and why are you better. Thanks!
What a beneficial tool. In previous marketing strategies, downtime is inevitable in the process of presenting new products or services to the general public because a company typically likes to see how people will react to their offer before they consider any changes. The proof-of-concept LookingGlass by Microsoft enables a company to track feedback immediately and respond accordingly. The fact that the tool can easily be used internally by all team members is also a plus.
-Greg Mesaros, CEO eWinWin
What makes this platform any different from the dozen identical monitor platforms already out there already? Tweetdeck, seesmic, peoplebrowsr, etc.
@Mel Thanks for posting that video. Great interviews, especially with Erin Matts of OMD and a decent peek at LookingGlass as well. Can't wait for the beta!
fantastic! I cannot wait for "see this glass"!
It is quite interesting move from Microsoft. The future is Social Media so every brand needed this.
Yes, it is interesting release from Microsoft, as every body know now and coming days will be dedicated to web 2.0 and social media optimizations, so we can say that all websites based on web 2.0 in coming days..
When it is going to be available?
It is going to be complete free?
Thank you for your help!
Update Interview and Video on LookingGlass just posted: community.microsoftadvertising.com/.../microsoft-lookingglass-update-interview-and-video.aspx
Very excited to see how LookingGlass comes out - there is so much more we can do in this area to enable companies. I here folks concerns above. . . that a dashboasrd like this may take the 'social' out of social media, but I believe a social media team (with marketing, support, and R&D roots to start) that stays true to their MO can greatly benefit from tools like this to:
* Manage individuals' activities across the group to make a company's presence more uniform, and
* Better integrate their efforts with company efforts and business metrics to better validate the overall social media approach
I wrote a bit more in my blog at http://24nr.sl.pt. Thanks for the info Mel!
Well Advertising and Marketing both plays important role in promoting our business and overall we all wants to expand business. I think that the online Marketing concept is gaining rapid popularity. We have to do proper advertising so that more and mpore people should know about our service. Even i use online advertising to sale my product. I promote my business using fullservice ad and you know i notice rapid growth in my business.Its really helpful.
A new platform like Looking Glass, must 've gone into R&D as a function of business strategy like; capitalize on soc media here at MicroSoft and then sell others that capability by which MS builds a new revenue stream. And - it sounds like from blogs that interest is heating up. Having tapped into the social side - we have orgs like CDD (Center for Digital Democracy) and many more including the feds, seeking to understand,