KOLs are important education resources for pharma, especially when launching a drug or as new clinical data emerges.  Traditional methods of identifying Influencers rely on valuable but incomplete insights.  The advent of social media analytics provides a robust approach to better understand the additional ways that KOLs are interacting within HCP communities, connecting with peers, patients, communities and organizations.  This paper provides an overview on why this is important and how we do it.

Click the image below to download whitepaper.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page!

Curious about how we use data? Check out our Analytics page!

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As a digital marketer responsible for planning, executing and optimizing campaigns you have a finite amount of “free” time. You are constantly trying to ensure that the objectives of your campaign are met, and you are delivering value to the business. Some days it probably feels like you have very little time to breathe, let alone think about the strategic direction of your organization.

So, when you see announcements or articles in the marketing trade press about news regarding digital analytics, marketing technology or advertising technology it’s likely impossible to keep up. Even more so because digital analytics and marketing technology are two of the fastest growing industries in marketing today. You probably would love to learn more about how these data and tools could be used to help further your business objectives, but there is simply no time.

That is where we come in. Our team of digital analysts and marketing technology experts constantly have their eye on what’s new and how it could be applied to your business. Starting today, we will be publishing a weekly roundup of digital analytics and marketing technology news on the W2O Group blog. We’ll also be capturing our take on what it could mean for your business. We know this landscape can be dizzying so we are here to help you make sense of it.

Here are the four things we are watching this week:

  1. Google unveils a measurement partners program. During its product conference, Google announced that it is creating a measurement partners program that consists of 23 companies. The 23 companies include ComScore, Nielsen, Oracle Data Cloud, DoubleVerify, IAS, Millward Brown and Neustar. The intention of the program is to deliver transparency and clear measurement standards to advertisers. Given that this announcement has just come in the last two days it’s unclear what impact this will have on advertisers. However, the program includes a veritable who’s who of marketing technology and measurement vendors, and the mission of the organization is something that all advertisers struggle with today. If the program does deliver clearer measurement standards and more transparency, this will be a win/win for all advertisers.
  2. IBM and Mediaocean announce new blockchain consortium. During last month’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, IBM – through its iX digital agency – and advertising software provider Mediaocean announced a consortium intended to bring greater transparency to advertising. The idea is that every step of an ad campaign, including purchase order and media execution, is recorded to blockchain, offering a transactional breadcrumb trail that is immediately distributed to all participants with access to a node. The consortium already has several partners, including Unilever, Pfizer, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg and IBM Watson. This consortium isn’t new in the sense that there are a number of organizations who intend to bring transparency to advertising, but this is one of the first we’ve seen utilizing blockchain technology. An important development to bring transparency to an industry that desperately needs it.
  3. MediaMath secures $225m in new financing. This week, ad-tech company MediaMath announced a new round of funding to further expand its platform. The funding is reportedly going to be used to accelerate development of technology in areas like identity, artificial intelligence, connected-television and digital out-of-home advertising. MediaMath’s position in the demand-side platform (DSP) industry is very well established, but the introduction of new funding allows the company to invest in things like artificial intelligence to make the buying decisions that advertisers make even smarter.
  4. Google announces several new ad tools using artificial intelligence. In the spirit of driving greater automation, effectiveness and efficiency, Google announced a new series of tools powered by AI. The first announcement was responsive search ads. Simply put, advertisers can provide up to 15 headlines and four description lines, and Google will utilize AI to deliver the best combinations for any potential search query. The second announcement is called maximize lift, which is intended to help advertisers reach people who are most likely to consider your brand after seeing a video ad. Powered by machine learning, this smart bidding strategy automatically adjusts bids at auction time to maximize the impact your video ads are having on brand perception.

Those are the four pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital analytics and marketing technology trends.

 If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page!

Curious about how we use data? Check out our Analytics page!

Want to learn more about digital marketing data? Check out my latest book!

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I’m old enough to remember when support groups for various health issues were a local affair, advertised in agate type in the newspaper and drawing a handful of individuals to church basements and elementary school cafeterias.

When the Internet emerged, one of the first hyped health applications of the World Wide Web was the idea that patient support could be moved online, and peer-led education and aid – freed from geographic and temporal constraints — would flourish.

The premise behind that promise turned out to be, at best, overstated. Especially in the early days, those communities were not particularly easy to find, particularly social or particularly stable. Disconnecting the phone, plugging in the modem, and waiting for the static-and-beep of dial-up internet wasn’t a guaranteed ticket to a Shangri-La of personal connections.

But there was, from the earliest days, a notable exception: the diabetes community, particularly the community of people with type 1 diabetes, managed to create safe spaces on the web early on, and those early social efforts have tended to stick around. Many of those who established beachheads in the early days of blogging are still out there, forming the core of a group known as the Diabetes Online Community.

But the D.O.C., arguably the most successful constellation of voices in any therapeutic area, didn’t arise fully formed. It had seemed that way to me, but we at W2O Group knew that there had to be a deeper story.

We decided that we needed an in-depth look at the backstory, a Social Diabetes Project, and reached out to Kerri Sparling. Sparling has written the blog Six Until me for well over a decade, giving her a unique vantage point to craft an oral history of the D.O.C.

Download Report Now

But what Kerri delivered, and what makes up the core of the first-ever Social Diabetes project, is an oral history that goes back well beyond the birth of the blog. In their own voices, Kerri has excavated the foundations of one of the web’s great collectives, and we’re excited to present it here.

The D.O.C. evolution isn’t over; year-over-year, conversation online about diabetes are only increasing, pulling in an ever-wider group of topics that has expanded from a narrow, blog-based focus on diabetes management to one where issues of diversity, advocacy, and technical know-how are a part of the conversation on every platform.

Reading Kerri’s work, we came away convinced that understanding the D.O.C. history helps shine light not only on the diabetes community, but that it illuminates the broader processes and motivations under which individuals have – and will – come online.

The report, in PDF form, can be downloaded here. We’re grateful to not only Kerri, but the countless individuals who shared their stories with her to make this oral history possible.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare pages.

As marketers, we are constantly being asked to do more with less — whether it comes to paid media campaigns, email marketing or creating world-class websites — so how do we maximize our return on investment?

Adam Cossman, Chief Digital Officer of W2O, Chuck Hemann, Managing Director of Analytics at W2O, and Jessica Williams, Senior Director of Global Brand and Digital Products Marketing at Visa, share proven strategies and illustrative case studies focused on employing data-driven approaches to maximize return to your marketing investment. Check out the webinar below!

If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our About page or learn how analytics powers everything we do.

Our brains are the most powerful “computers” on earth.  We store memories from childhood onward that stick with us for the rest of our lives.  We create habits that shape how we think for decade after decade.  We’re exposed to thousands upon thousands of images, articles and ads every day that refine how we think.   Our brains are always on and they are capturing far more information than we realize.

We create our subconscious mind for our entire lifetime.  It drives our intuition.  It helps us form our immediate first impression.  It causes us to flinch or laugh immediately.  Our subconscious drives more of our decisions than we truly appreciate.  It is the best partner of our conscious mind.

Of course, we don’t often appreciate this as intensely as we should in the marketing world.

We often ask questions of our potential customers, which means that short-term memory kicks in and we can only remember an average of 3-7 items per topic.  So, our life’s knowledge reservoir remains largely untapped.

We monitor conversations of our customers to judge how they view our brands, yet 90% of us don’t engage in writing content or speaking online on a regular basis.  We are really analyzing the 1% and the 9% who do shape the market, but don’t represent the total market.

Too often, we focus on the conscious mind and forget the subconscious aspects of reaching our customers effectively.

The cynic might say “yeah, but if we really know exactly what everyone is saying, we basically know all we need to”.   My simple response is the following: “Would you mind sharing all of your political, religious, familial and other personal updates on all social channels every day?  If you have any health questions or issues, could you share those with us also?”  All of us know we don’t do that.  We ask our “friends” at Google or Bing to help us out in private.

In the future, we’ll think of search as not a tool to just reach people who ask questions, but as a body of evidence that shows exactly what the subconscious mind is of a customer or a market segment or even an industry.

It sounds daunting, but it isn’t that bad at all due to the simple fact that human beings always follow predictable patterns.  When it comes to queries, you can usually focus on about 100-150 queries made for any topic, look at as many screens as you like (let’s say 10) per query and then analyze this body of content to come up with a gold mine of insights.

We can see which outlets matter and why.  We can see which people and organizations drive the SEO experience.  We can see which topics are trending well before they make a difference in the mainstream.  And more.

We are basically peering into the subconscious mind of our customer.  If we look close enough, we can find new answers and see what’s next a tiny bit earlier than our peers.

The result is that “search” is really about to become (Re)Search and it will lead to a series of new models that improve media relations, issues management, media planning, trend analysis, competitive intelligence and, of course, search itself.

My colleague, Alan Garcia, is pioneering a new suite of models that can address many of the core customer experience issues raised for years by luminaries such as Pete Blackshaw, start to build new media efficiency models that will make it far more clear where waste exists for advertisers and it will make it easier for all of us to create solutions that represent the whole brains of customers.

It also means we need to stop thinking of search in the way we’ve been taught and start thinking of search as a gold mine of customer experience and a way to increase our knowledge base.

In Prince’s case, he changed his name to disassociate himself from his record label.  In this case, we just need to stop pigeon-holing search as “one tool in the toolbox” and realize it is a Permian Basin of insights ready to tap into.

Will be fun.  More in posts ahead.

PS/Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there.  Make sure you thank the Mothers and Grandparents who make it possible to be a decent Father.

Today our own Chuck Hemann, sat down on Nasdaq Speed Reads to discuss all things digital marketing analytics.

He dives into:

  • The second edition of his latest book, Digital Marketing Analytics
  • The inevitable marriage between data and marketing
  • How the analytics industry has shifted for analysts and brands
  • GDPR (of course)

Check out the interview below.

If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our About page. Interested in learning how analytics powers everything we do?


I ask a lot of questions throughout my day that relate to a wide range of topics. These topics include restaurant recommendations, product reviews, health related research, and even financial advice. The questions I ask, and the information I use to answer them, are a reflection of who I am. I go to search engines to get that information, and so do countless others.

Search is a fundamental pillar of digital interaction. It taps into a low-level of human behavior that comes before conversation. The intellectual capital gained from the careful study of search can drive entire market strategies. In fact, massive giants like Amazon attribute early success to an effective organic search strategy centered around leveraging their enormous product taxonomy. Well-informed search strategies can be used to reduce barrier to entry in new markets, secure market leadership in existing, and maximize return on your media investment.

Keywords are half the story

Search engines are smart enough to know that when I ask a question about “black sand,” I should get back “beach” related information. That’s because, machine learning aside, enough people asked the same thing and found “beach” related media to be relevant. At their core, search engines draw connections between questions (in the form of keywords) and content (in the form of articles, videos, and other media). This is becoming more and more relevant as people become more and more comfortable asking their questions to search engines in natural language.

We put emphasis on keywords for a good reason. How people choose to phrase their questions, and how many questions they care about for a given topic, are valuable insights. After all, asking a question is the first point of interaction between a person and a search engine. But, that’s only half the story.

The search engine takes those keywords as an input and gives the user back a set of results for their consideration. Users interact with search engines a second time when they decide, with a click, which specific result was most useful. This second step closes a feedback loop that allows search engines to optimize their output for relevance. Search engines are essentially super-gigantic, human sorted, information libraries that contain deeply nested insights about our audience.

Keep your eye on the ball

If we put our focus on search results, we can start to see how they mirror our audience and their underlying intent. We can ask questions like what people, brands, competitors, and topics (including sensitive issues) are present and what share they have of your audience’s attention.

Not only can you measure your share of search visibility, you can assign it a dollar value. How much would you have to pay to buy back your organic presence on search? In other words, what is the media cost equivalency of your organic search footprint? This is an important value to keep an eye on as it is a measurable reflection of your brand equity and reputation. Executive leadership, investors, and clients gain strategic advantage by monitoring and optimizing against this core KPI.

What is your strategy?

In “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works,” Roger Martin frames strategy as a set of choices that determine “where to play and how to win” for a brand. The intelligence you base these choices on should strive for completeness of perspective, relevance with your consumer, and ultimately provide a reliable bedrock on which to center your strategic activities. If you plan on playing in digital media markets, your market intelligence should include all relevant digital media, with search at its core.

Are you actively incorporating search into your market research? Do you know your brand’s share of search media value in your category? Do you have a plan to nurture and protect it? These questions, and your answers to them, significantly impact your competitive advantage in digital markets and determine whether or not you will win.

Keep as close of an eye on your search value as you do your bottom line. Why? Because, search is money.

~ Alan

In our next piece, we’ll discuss the value of plotting and analyzing the search media landscape for competitors, people, and topics. We’ll also talk about how these insights reduce market-entry barriers.

If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our About page.


Digital marketers intuitively know that a personalized and seamless customer experience is more effective, more engaging, and ultimately good for business. Personalization at scale is not easy though, and it’s a significant investment for brands in people, process and technology.

To compound the personalization challenge, online privacy concerns are at an inflection point. GDPR regulations in Europe and any number of recent data breaches and privacy scandals in the United States are creating a situation in which the detailed individual data that brands need in order to achieve that personalization is becoming more expensive, legally tricky or impossible to get.

Does that mean brands should give up on personalization? Absolutely not!

To prove the point, the software and technology giant Adobe recently tried to quantify just how much more effective, engaging and good for business that personalized experiences can be. At their recent Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, they highlighted the performance of businesses that focus on customer experience over other priorities, and that they can expect serious results compared to companies that don’t. The report conducted in conjunction with Forrester noted that experience focused businesses saw a 1.6x increase in brand awareness, 1.9x increase in average order value, 1.6x increase in customer lifetime value, and 36% faster revenue growth rates among others.

Source: Adobe

Connected, consistent and memorable customer experiences that drive results like Adobe is touting require marketing technologies to know who you are and to be able to provide content that is relevant and personalized to you at that moment.

Knowing who you are across every digital device you interact with is no easy feat – and MarTech is now rising to the challenge with CDPs (Customer Data Platforms), DMPs, and more advanced CRMs. These platforms organize first, second and third-party data cross-channel and cross-device, and attempt to link it all to unified customer profiles. Even when on a different device or logged out, these systems will attempt to identify website visitors via other identifiers such as browser configuration, social handles, behavioral patterns and so on.

While knowing who you are is key, companies then need to be able to deliver relevant and personalized content to you. Massive content libraries with proper taxonomy and meta data are needed to meet the needs of 1-1 personalization at scale, and that requires significant investment in content itself in addition to new systems technology. AI and Machine Learning tools are now starting to play a role in creating all that content, enabling companies to generate the needed content in far more efficient and surprisingly automated ways.

Once a brand has a centralized view of their customers, and has the content to deliver to them, then they can take advantage of the thousands of solutions that connect to and use that customer data and content to personalize the customer experience. This kind of ecosystem is what drives significant business results.

All that being true, in an age of increasing privacy concerns it makes sense to now consider the balance between expected privacy and the personal data required to deliver highly personalized experiences.  The European Union’s GDPR regulations become enforceable this May, and they very clearly state that explicit permission must be given to collect and use personal data. Marketers may be wise to assume that similar regulation will happen eventually here in the United States, and this will put second party data sharing and third party data under the microscope.

If that happens, we can expect that audience and customer data will become less accessible due to the difficulties in obtaining and documenting consent. The large martech stacks have already begun making potentially sensitive data less available – reports now indicate that Google will no longer let buyers pull DoubleClick ID from DCM. While they point to GDPR as the reason, this move will certainly result in other large vendors making similar moves, and this will start pushing brands more fully into their ecosystems in order to continue to take advantage of personal data.

In addition to vendor consolidation, websites and owned digital properties – which primarily rely first-party and completely anonymous behavior tracking data for personalization and optimization – will become even more important in ensuring the quality of the overall digital experience. Consider these changing privacy concerns when designing your brands personalization data, tech and content strategy.

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Organizations of all types and sizes are under increasing pressure and scrutiny to locate and make best use of as much data as they can to inform decisions of all kinds. From initial discovery and exploratory topics specific to customer or patient optimization paths, internal and external data can illuminate many issues for marketers and communicators at all levels. But what does that really look like? What kinds of data should teams consider, and what can it do to improve their advantage?

Most marketers (well over half of surveyed B2B and B2C respondents) think in terms of traditional sources when they think ‘data’ – online analytics, email data, survey or CRM data*. However, we at W2O have worked with a wide variety of clients and platforms to identify unique sources of input that are quite revealing, especially when looking at unstructured data that can provide hints at language or a decision process we can’t see in another way. Sometimes the best insights come from the most unexpected touchpoints.

With over 75K installs of forum management software and massive group forums like Reddit, even Facebook, and specialty groups like Cancer Survivors Network or Stack Overflow, it’s easy to see why forums seem like such a rich target for us to try to understand. However, contextualizing this unstructured, freeform language into more structured data that we can use and understand can be a real challenge. Integrating this data so we can align it with other, more structured data can make it even more useful as we think about how to craft KPIs and firm reporting, too. eMarketer reported that nearly 60% of B2B Marketing and Sales professionals in the US consider actionable analytics and reporting functions very important when selecting a marketing vendor. This is where smarter tools can come into play as we look to understand how customers or patients speak in real life – to each other, about their situation, and with a trust because they know that everyone else in that forum is there for the same reason.

At W2O, we rely a lot on making inferences from on how people talk in this way – “I have lung cancer” instead of, “I am a small cell cancer patient” – and creating labeled groupings from there. We can use these language insights to help clients understand their patients/customers better and relate to how they use language in a natural way. “It’s helping us build a more complete patient lexicon that not only helps us relate to patients better, but also lets us improve and expedite future research – when we know what we are looking for, it’s much easier to find,” says Kevin Johnson, W2O President of Marketeching. Johnson shared that while we spend a lot of time with trained Linguists combing through and analyzing written copy, we are also working to eliminate entries that are clearly off-topic with automated Data Sciences tools. These insights also help frame messaging in a way that is truly audience-first, since we are able to speak their language.

While many marketers and comms pros think we need a large sample set to make our data worth investigating, W2O teams have found a different result when evaluating specialty audiences. The best data for deep insights often comes from the most detailed and specific data that lets you see your audience clearly, and that often comes where they are speaking to like-minded peers. Johnson shared, “For us, it’s often Facebook or advocacy groups – those people that understand themselves best. Even with a sometimes-smaller group, it’s more accurate, and we can build to volume over time”. Statistical relevance is key.

Internal data like online or app analytics, or purchase and transactional data can be extremely valuable in this regard, too, since it shows you the actual behavior of your customer. However, connecting that end-point behavior back to intent can be very difficult, especially if you are in a B2B or complex environment. Regardless, every small indicator can provide a clue to what your audiences are thinking and how they will respond to your changes. Even in siloed organizations, every clue will help you assemble a little more of your audience picture so you can continue to drive toward your own advantage.

As Brad Feinberg, Senior Director: Media & Consumer Engagement, MillerCoors put it at our recent W2O SXSW events,”it can be a challenge to get data from the silos inside your organization, but when you make it happen, it’s completely worth it.”

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