Real-time is all the rage in search marketing and Internet advertising. One of the most significant benefits, of course, is that it brings the available data-driven research right to those of us who are paying attention – with a lot in the way of creative and social opportunities.
Microsoft’s recently launched msnNOW platform provides a viable way to explore what’s happening on the real-time Web today and should be added as a staple in your search marketing toolbox.
Microsoft utilizes its own proprietary technology on msnNOW to identify the trends and topics that are gaining traction on Facebook, Twitter, Bing and BreakingNews.com. What’s interesting about the platform is that it provides information on breaking trends (which is useful in and of itself, and I will explain how and why momentarily) but also the biggest movers and specific topic pages. msnNow essentially provides a summary of why one topic may be trending and showcases recent videos and images, related tweets, public Facebook posts and, of course, information from Bing and MSN search queries.
“msnNOW is really about keeping consumers in the know about the hottest topics on the Web,” says Bob Visse, general manager for MSN. “We’re using technology we built that analyzes all the social signals from Twitter, Facebook and the Web, as well as search signals that come from Bing.”
msnNOW is based in part on Microsoft’s new Demand Dashboard which aggregates information from the last 24 hours, sorts and analyzes items searched for, those posted on Facebook and shared on Twitter. The platform sifts through the data and identifies emerging patterns, detecting breaking trends as they happen. So how can you as a search marketer leverage this information to your benefit?
Consider msnNow as a powerful way to get the scoop on what’s appealing to a broad section of Internet users. And when you know what is currently resonating, an entirely new approach to social sharing and content production starts to emerge.
“We wanted to build a tool that was capable of ‘listening’ to all the signals,” says Klaus Diaconu, principal program manager for MSN. “What are people talking about on Facebook? What are they tweeting? What are they searching for using Bing? What’s breaking right now on BreakingNews.com? The tool listens to all that and sees what’s spiking in real time.”
What may make the service even better is that in addition to listening and identifying hot topics, the tool analyzes each trend to determine if interest is building, peaking or waning. The tool also reveals where and how each topic is trending within the context of each signal and can reduce the amount of time necessary to find topics or trends on which to report.
While the msnNOW platform is really designed for consumers, social media mavens and content marketers can also get in on the action. The most valuable aspect of the offering is that much of the guesswork about what will “resonate” with an audience is eliminated – thanks to a perfect blend of technology, media, art and science.
Let’s look at an example. While I am not necessarily a social media maven by any stretch of the imagination, I do have 40,000 subscribers to my personal Facebook account. Not everything I post generates a lot of “likes” or “shares”, but one item I shared this morning directly from msnNOW immediately got the activity flowing with 20 likes in the first few minutes alone.
What this means is that for those Web socialites sharing content, the items being published on msnNOW (at least in this one, unscientific test) do wonders to spur activity. And more activity on the items you share (whether personal or business brand page) increases the opportunities you have in the future to appear more often in your friends' and subscribers' streams.