Who’s leading the Internet of Things (IoT) Marketing Battle?

Internet of Things (IoT) Marketing Battle

Introduction to IBM and Microsoft IoT

Social media marketing is more of a subtle art than an exact science and big brands often make the mistake of comparing it with traditional marketing. You cannot have an “if you build it they will come” approach. We see this with comparing the effectiveness of two giants, IBM and Microsoft in the IoT space. Although just a three-month sample, looking at marketing activities between these two IoT market leaders, we see a winner. There is a clear distinction between how IBM and Microsoft promote their IoT products and services to the market.

The Analysis

In a recent Forrester Wave report looking at the top IoT software platforms (published November 2016), both IBM and Microsoft were identified as leaders. This analysis looked at these two market leaders to understand how effective their marketing efforts have been in this space. Specifically, social listening and analytics tactics were used to assess Q1 2017 (Jan., Feb., and Mar.) performance of these two IoT vendors, to understand:

  • Share of Voice and social media reach
  • Overall marketing effectiveness (what worked)
    • Top Post comparison
    • Top Media comparison
    • Top Author comparison
  • Influencer marketing and engagement strategy

free iot report

Followers and Page Likes Comparison

When comparing IBM and Microsoft’s IoT social presence, IBM has the edge with 6,628 Facebook Page Likes and 68.2K Twitter Followers, compared to Microsoft’s 2,289 Facebook Page Likes and 41.5K Twitter Followers.

ibm watson iot


Twitter was the highest conversation channel represented for both IBM and Microsoft in Q1 of 2017. There were over 134K posts that mentioned IBM IoT compared to over 54K posts mentioning Microsoft IoT. IBM significantly outperformed Microsoft with Engagements (12,205 compared to 275). There was a low conversation count identified for both brands on Facebook.

microsoft iot


Looking at a high-level social metrics view comparing IBM and Microsoft’s IoT efforts, IBM (71% share) significantly outperformed Microsoft (29% share). IBM saw a peak in conversation the week of February 13th with their announcement of the IBM Watson IoT Headquarters in Munich. IBM also realized a higher Passion Intensity index compared to Microsoft. Interestingly, Microsoft IoT conversation netted a higher negative tone compared to IBM.

ibm watson analytics

Looking at the Passion Intensity Index of these two brands, IBM IoT saw a very strong Brand Passion Index with a score of 96 compared to Microsoft IoT Passion Intensity Index of 75. Top emotions identified with IBM, include: Great, Excited, Proud, and Happy.

microsoft iot passion index

Looking at the top terms and hashtags used by each brand, “MicrosoftCorporation” was frequently used within the Microsoft IoT conversation. Whereas, “Watson” and “IBMInterconnect” were frequently used within the IBM IoT conversation. Terms like BigData, Cloud, and Security were used more with IBM compared to Microsoft. IBM also used “Recruiting” terms as part of their IoT conversation. Note: Use related industry terms and hashtags to increase the reach of your primary term.

iot wordcloud

A couple of key events drove IBM’s conversation for Q1, 2017. On February 15th, IBM announced the opening of their IBM Watson IoT Headquarters in Munich. IBM successfully leveraged several promotional materials for this announcement including a wonderful video highlighting the opening.

ibm iot

We see other excellent examples of IBM using video effectively in their IoT marketing efforts. On January 26th, IBM Japan posted a video that demonstrated Bluemix with Watson, Blockchain, and IoT technologies. This single video was viewed over 37K times and shared over 100 times.

ibm watson live video


We see IBM using video across multiple channels effectively as well. In the below Twitter post, IBM used video and an industry influencer to increase their IoT presence.

ibm watson security and iot

free iot report

Compare this to Microsoft’s IoT historical trend and top posts. Microsoft relied on traditional news outlets and social posting to promote their IoT brand. Although a steady conversation trend, nothing of significance to note from Microsoft’s IoT marketing efforts for the quarter.

microsoft social media iot

When comparing how IBM and Microsoft are leveraging key influencers, IBM again has a clear advantage. The top 3 influencers that engaged in the IBM IoT conversation had a combined Follower base of 280K+. This creates a great opportunity for IBM. Note: Marketers should “listen” and engage, promote, converse with key Influencers to further promote their own brand.

What is iot

We see another great example of influencer marketing from IBM on the below Facebook post where Rebecca Jarvis, Chief Business, Technology, & Economics Correspondent interviews IBM Watson at CES. This interview has been viewed over 13K times and shared over 175 times. This is a very strategic influencer outreach by IBM as Rebecca has over 200K Followers on Facebook.

Rebecca Jarvis, Chief Business, Technology, & Economics Correspondent interviews IBM Watson at CES.


Marketing professionals are beginning to realize that social interactions with online users with large followings can be tremendously beneficial. We see this with IBM’s IoT marketing efforts. IBM was very effective in leveraging key industry influencers to promote their IoT offering.

Influencer marketing has become top of mind for many marketing professionals. In a recent survey of 100 marketing professionals in the US, nearly a third (32 percent) consider influencer marketing an essential part of their strategy. Furthermore, 40 percent found more success by working with influential social media users than through traditional ad campaigns.

Along with influencer marketing, we found that IBM successfully created and promoted an assortment of compelling video content. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, marketing professionals should be thinking about how best to incorporate video into their marketing mix. In a 2016 survey of over 5,000 marketers, a significant 60% of marketers use video in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of video. The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video.

So, what did we learn? The question surrounding social media marketing today is not whether you are doing it, but rather how effective you are at doing it. Most of us marketers have moved beyond the traditional vanity metrics of a number of likes and shares (if you haven’t, you should), to analyzing what’s important with your marketing efforts. We see from this analysis that using social analytics tactics, we can identify key drivers of successful marketing campaigns. We can also understand where our own brand stacks up against our greatest rivals.


Author: Evan Escobedo, VP and GM iWeSocial, evan.escobedo@iwesocial.com


free iot report


How to Measure Social Media ROI

Measuring Social Media ROI

Recently, Twitter just had their 10 year anniversary of their first tweet. 12 years ago, Facebook officially went live as the product we know of today. Today, both of these major platforms have a combined total user base of over 2 billion people and businesses. When you add in other social upstarts and apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat you can add in another 1.6 billion users. And even with these staggering user stats, and singular places to reach a massive audience, businesses all over the world are still reluctant to invest more in social media, or even make leap into social media at all. Much of it stems from time and staffing levels, an inabilty to see value from higher ups in many organizations, monetary constraints, lack of knowledge in their use, or just a failure to see or have the ability to measure ROI of social media as a whole. We hear a lot of these responses, but the question of ROI seems to be a major factor in determining social media’s place in an organization’s marketing strategy. So how do you determine social media ROI?

It’s a very tricky question to answer for any business, but much of it has to do with trying to determine what the goals of your business and marketing efforts are in the first place. If you are bascially any business, branding and brand recognition should nearly always be at or near the top of your marketing and social media goals. Even Coca Cola and McDonalds never stop their own branding efforts as evidenced by their TV ad spend, and especially their investment into their social media efforts among other campaigns. Look at companies like Red Bull who plaster their brand over an ever-growing stable of extreme athletes. An eCommerce business probably has an additional goal they can utilize social media for branding purposes, and also as a way to drive traffic to their website which will ideally lead to a web sale. So, the first place to start for any business is to determine your goals, determine what the metrics are to measure those goals, then you can start to determine the ROI of your social media efforts.

Setting Social Media Goals

Measure facebook reach

Facebook Reach

As branding should the goal of nearly every business, there are a few good metrics you can use to help determine if social media is working in your favor. Reach on Facebook is one great metric to look at. Reach is simply the number of fans and followers you have that had the ooportunity to see your post. So how do you boost reach? Since the life of the average post on Facebook is around 1-3 hours, you should be posting when your fans are online the most. Looking at your Facebook Insights is the best place to look for this data. This is a great metric to look at on a regular basis. Just like a TV commercial, you want the most amount of people to see your posts.


Social Media Engagement

These are the actual interactions people have with your posts across all your social networks. To calculate, add up all these interactions such as Likes, Comments, Shares, Retweets, and so on and divide that number by your total number of fans across all these social networks. And why is this an important metric to track? Many studies show that users who engage most often with a brand tend to view the brand in a positive light. And those people are also more likely to make a purchase from that brand, and recommend that brand to their friends. And while most social networks these days have made it harder for brands to increase “organic” engagement through algorithm changes, improving engagement of your posts is due in large part to one central theme…better content=more enagement. In other words, give people what they want, or solve pain points and you will see engagement go up.


Traffic to your website (or store)

While driving traffic to your website shouldn’t be the only goal of your social media efforts, nor should it be the primary source of content, ultimately you should track how people are coming to your website by way of social media channels. One easy way to track this is looking at your Google Analytics account, and look at the Social Network Referrals page. This will show you exactly how many people came to your website by clicking a link within a given social media channel. From there you can then see which links people clicked on in that social channel. This can tell you not only the number of referral clicks from that channel, but also what type of content is resonating with people. If you want to dial in even deeper, you can create individual link campaigns in Google Analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for each social channel to see which channel is working best, and also which is leading to the most sales or conversions. This way you can get even more granular about which social channels are driving click-thrus, and also what type of content is resonating more with your followers.


Measuring website conversions



Measuring Conversions

A coversion is simply defined as an action on your website that you want people to take. It could be an email sign up, a PDF download, a new potential lead, a completed sale, time spent on a page, or even a video view. While many businesses want sales directly from social media, this attitude is gradually changing and greater importance is being placed on non-financial aspects of social media marketing. Conversions are another metric that can be tracked within Google Analytics once you have determined what conversions you want to track, and creating those goals to track. That entire process is for another day, but setting up goals and conversion tracking in Google Analytics is imperative in measuring effectivenes for your social media ROI.


Measuring Revenue/Sales

While this may not be a primary goal of your social media efforts, or even a goal you create to determine ROI, there will be some who want to know exactly how much in sales is directly attributable to your social media efforts. One thing I would caution against, is only using sales as a measurement of social media ROI. This might be a tougher sell to some CEOs who are primarily focused on top line growth. While this can be a key metric to track for businesses who sell products or services directly on their website, it might not be a metric for someone like a restaurant whose sales come 100% from offline activity. There are ways for restaurants, storefronts, bars, and other offline business to at least measure individual campaigns that you run from say a Facebook page. A good example might be running a coupon or offer where social media is the only place to pick up such a deal. From there you can calculate how many coupons/offers were brought in and how much in sales those tickets generated. But for those wishing to measure sales in their online channels where they can attribute to social media efforts, it can be slightly more daunting. Utilizing Google Analytics, and under Reporting<Acquisition<Social<Conversions tabs, you would be able to see those people who were referred by a social network, and consequently those visits led to a sale conversion. This is just one way to measure revenue attributable to social media activity, or sales ROI.

You can see from some recent surveys from current CMOs which metrics are most important to measure social media ROI, and there are a couple in there that are revenue related.


social media metrics measure


Cost Calculation

To figure a true cost, or ROI, of your social efforts as it relates to sales or actual revenue generated,  you also need to know what you are spending in and on your social media efforts. But again, this is but one aspect of social media ROI; using revenue as metric to track. The easy and most basic way to calculate this is a simple math formula:

Social Media Revenue ROI(%) = (Revenue Generated from social media – Cost of social media marketing)/Cost of social media marketing

So, if you generated $1000 in sales, and those sales cost you $800, your ROI would be 25%

You also need to determine which costs are associated with these efforts and campaigns. Examples of costs would include time or labor, agency costs, advertising spend, and any additional marketing spend such as product giveaways or subcriptions.


Measurement Reporting

We always advise using 3-5 metrics that are important to your business goals, especially when you have higher ups who want to know what the value of social media is on a regular basis. This list and article is not an exhaustive list on the metrics you can use to help determine an ROI of your social media efforts, but it should at the very least, get you started in the right direction.

A report is something you can create in an Excel sheet, but I always recommend using graphs and graphics whenever possible as a way to better visualize the data, and make it more consumable. In this case, a PowerPoint might give you the power to show how your efforts are helping your ROI and prove the worth of your efforts. If you don’t the time or ability to create the proper reporting on measuring your goals and specific metrics, it may be time to consider hiring agency for some or all of your social media efforts.

Utilizing an agency like iWeSocial, you have the advantage of not only years of expertise, but also the software and platforms to go deeper into the data and how you measure your social media ROI. We have the ability to look at the things that matter most to the CMOs marketing executives, such as in the previous image. Things like social influence, brand sentiment, brand mentions across the internet, virality, competitive analysis, and many other deeper dive indicators that can elevate your social media across all channels.


social media listening
Our Stream platform allows you to take a deeper dive into what is driving your social audience, brand sentiment, influencers, and responding to them in real-time. You might wonder how you lived without it after you start using it.



While vanity metrics such as “Likes” seem to consume most any business’ social strategy, taking the time to sit down and create a set of goals and metrics to track those goals will not only help you determine an ROI of your social media efforts, it will also give you a path to elevate your social media efforts and even surpass your goals. The data is there, now it’s up to you to make the time to use it, report it, and make actionable insights for optimum results. You will not only save time, but you will become more productive with time and most likely, you will see an increase in revenue as a result. But if you don’t have the time or expertise, don’t throw darts at a wall and hope for the best. Hire someone who can do this and you will reap the rewards. Social media is here to stay, so you may as well use it to grow your business.


Author: Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager, iWeSocial


If you have any questions about calculating ROI, get a better ROI return, how to elevate your social media efforts, or dig even deeper to make better insights from truckloads of data, you should give us a call. We can help, and we can drastically improve your ROI. 720.880.5492 or email us at info@iwesocial.com for a no obligation consult.


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Social Listening report for Stanford University and the 2016 Rio Olympics

We recently completed a small project for Stanford University that we are allowed to share, and we thought would be interesting for others to see potentially how not just businesses use social listening to make better decisions and create operational efficiencies, but also world-class universities like Stanford. In this case, Stanford asked us to create a a short report using our IQ product that scans Twitter and other social media sites, to track mentions and useful hashtags related to current and former Stanford athletes who were competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics.


Not only was Stanford interested in the number of mentions of “Stanford” when associated with one of its’ athletes, but also the engagement in those posts with the mention of “Stanford”. Next Stanford wanted to try and assign a monetary value of all those mentions, and the reach of all those mentions. Here is a slideshare presentation of that preliminary report summary that we developed based on the data queries of our software platform:



A few of the Insights we gathered from just a basic preliminary report:

  • Potential total impressions were 825,610,389 (only includes a 10% Twitter Sample).
  • Stanford athlete success (and subsequent conversation) during the Rio Olympics provided great exposure and opportunity for the University.
  • Comparison of other PAC-12 schools was popular, particularly with CAL.
  • Stanford Athletes were highlighted many times in articles from traditional local (Bay Area) online publications (slide 3).
  • 64% of mentions came from California followed by 8% from New York.
  • Individual athletes like Lucy Davis and Simone Manuel were popular figures.

While assigning a dollar value to impressions can be difficult, we made an assumption that the cost of 1000 impressions (CPM) would normally cost around $5 based on what many advertisers charge. Given this amount, 825 million+ potential impressions would be north of $165,000. I’d say Stanford made out pretty well where the Olympics were concerned.

A Social Media Analytics Perspective from the Rio Olympics

We Live in a Connected World!

A Social Analytics Perspective from the Rio Olympics

Michael Phelps rio 2016

By all accounts (from a digital perspective), it appears that the 2016 Rio Olympics were a huge success. Although TV ratings were down from previous years, NBCUniversal said that audience levels promised to advertisers were met. NBCUniversal acquired more than 1.2 billion in advertising sales for its 17 days of coverage across its broadcast network. From a social media standpoint, Facebook saw 1.5 billion interactions for its Rio Olympics coverage, which includes likes, posts, comments and shares related to the Olympics throughout the games. For the two-week span of the games, 277 million people participated in the conversation around the globe on Facebook alone, explicating just how connected the world is during these ceremonial games.

Additionally, Twitter suggested that there were 187 million tweets about the Olympics, which produced 75 billion impressions both on Twitter and around the web. On Instagram, 131 million users made 916 million likes and comments on photos and videos of the games.

Using our social listening analytics and research capabilities at iWeSocial, we examined a 10% sample of mentions between August 1th and 26th. In this sample selection, there were over 98 million mentions about the Rio Olympics from across the web. This included over 84 million posts, establishing a potential impression count of over 1.4 billion.

iwesocial social media analytics

Demographic Analysis

Our data shows that the male audience was slightly more engaged (mentioning the Rio Olympics over social channels) than females by 10% (55% male to 45% female). However, our data showed very similar engagement activity across age groups. This was led by 25-34 year olds accounting for 19% of the conversation followed by 18-24 year olds with 16%. Those over 65 years old accounted for 8% of total conversation.

Also included in our demographic analysis was ethnicity. Interestingly, we discovered that the Hispanic population drove 19% of the conversation and was over indexed by 2.19% compared to the general Twitter population. Compare this to the Caucasian audience which accounted for 58% of the conversation but under indexed (0.88) compared to the general Twitter population.  Indexing allows us to see how much more frequently terms and hashtags are used in a conversation stream or, as in this case, how active specific demographic segments are compared to a controlled audience. In this instance we compared the Olympic Audience to the General Twitter Population.

Twitter Analytics

From a geography standpoint, the United States led all countries with 37% of all mentions followed by Brazil with 10% and then the United Kingdom with 7 %. Within the United States, California accounted for 14% of the conversation, followed by Texas (11%), New York (10%) and then Florida (7%).

rio olympics social mentions

Looking at the Conversation

When you look deeper into the conversation several athletes stood out, including Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte. Gender conversation drivers were similar between males compared to females. Both men and women commonly used #USA, #Gold and other topics with similar frequency. Looking at conversation sentiment beyond neutral sentiment, positive conversation was significantly higher than negative sentiment (82.1% positive vs. 17.9%).

social media sentiment analysis


top rio olympics hashtags

Popular content winners!

most influential authors of rio olympics

There were many influential authors contributing to the overall Rio Olympic conversation. Noteworthy influencers involved in the discussion included Ellen DeGeneres, Zac Efron, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. Another influencer to note was the Prime Minister of India (Narendra Modi), when he congratulated one of India’s athletes through Twitter.

Popular content included:

rio olympics social media

Prime Minister of India (Narendra Modi),

zac efron meets simone biles twitter

neymar olympics twitter

Ellen DeGeneres twitter post olympics


So What Does This All Mean?

Social media analytics represents a shift in the way market research can be conducted on brands. Social media analytics enables brands to make sense of high volumes of data from across the public web. With this knowledge, organizations can better understand brand performance, brand reputation, engagement, affinities, influencers and so on. The ability to make sense of the sometimes senseless and sporadic patterns social media provides us with at first glance is incredible, especially during a time when the world is so fixated on one thing, such as the Olympic games. We can truly hear what everyone is saying, even if that conversation spans an ocean or a continent.

This data reveals that the modern world is more connected than ever before. An event like the Olympics highlights the massive amount of data that’s generated from consumers, influencers and personalities. For brands – the data is available for the taking. This data can be mined to understand a specific demographic, a target audience or market. Take for example; we know that 35% of the conversation came from 18-34 year olds. With this, a brand can create a campaign or generate a conversation amongst this specific age group to not only involve their brand but drive the conversation. What did Nike do during these games? Adidas? Puma? The United Nations? How did they drive the conversation? What did your brand do to get involved?

With social media analytics, brands can better understand a target market, segment or demographic and create specific campaigns to meet the needs of that audience. For example, if only 9% of the conversation came from 65+, can a brand better understand that demographic to better engage with them in the next Olympics?  Furthermore, what drove Hispanics to chime in on Twitter at 2.19 over-index (compared to the general Twitter population)? Was it simply a matter of geography since the games were held in a Hispanic nation and continent? Is there insight a business can learn if they are eager to reach a particular demographic?

Yes! Brands now have access to this massive dataset – the questions is how can they leverage this data to their advantage? Much more, consumers also win because brands can now tailor their products to meet the specific needs of the consumer based on data.

This is the bottom line, we live in a connected world and this offers brands incredible opportunity. We found that those in on the conversation were not afraid to express their opinion during the Rio Olympics.  If no one is listening to the raw opinions, then no one knows what can be done to cater to specific demographic or even improve the lives of a generation.  The good news is, according to the International Olympic Committee’s own definition, success is measured by media audience engagement- and so we would easily agree that the 2016 Rio Olympics were a huge success!

Read More: iWeSocial Stream

Read More: Top 10 Places to Find Free Images

If you have questions about any of this, or if you would like to learn more about social media analytics for your business, contact us at info@iwesocial.com or call us at 720.880.5492