Thank the Lord for content collaboration platforms. I try and forget the early days of the Internet when my colleagues would send 50MB (or more) emails on a slow network causing my PC to freeze. The blue screen of death, Ctrl+Alt+Del and then losing saved files was a common scenario in my life. And for the highly impatient, easily agitated, A.D.D. person I am, this was never, ever a good thing. 👎🏼
The content collaboration space used to be referred to as Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS). Try saying that 5 times quickly. Thank you, Gartner, for the name change and making it easier on all of us. I have used most of these vendors throughout my career, both for personal and professional use and I do have my favorites, but we’ll save that for another post.
As a part of a Data Science class I am taking, I wanted to analyze an audience that was more challenging to find than some of the other audiences I have explored in the past. So I decided to focus on a space I was familiar with from a user’s perspective. Not very sexy … file storage, collaboration, blah … but extremely important for companies and their employees today.
I first started by researching the content collaboration category in general. Gartner is always a good place to start – see Magic Quadrant for Content Collaboration Platforms. Unless you have 2 G’s to spare, you can skim through reprints of the analysis published on several of the category leader’s websites. Doing this helped me prepare my approach.
The first thing I did was look at the coverage for the last 12 months to understand how the media was writing about content collaboration. I also looked at several of the vendors to see how they were describing their solutions on their websites and within their social content. I used this language to build a taxonomy of keywords to inform bio and content searches. I filtered out spammy accounts, people who weren’t active in social in the last 6 months, brands and industry associations. Since I am looking just for people, my audience size was 2.2K but consisted of 15.7M conversations from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018.
I wanted to understand who the buyers were, who was writing about the topic in the media, the analysts, influencers and general brand advocates that are passionate about the space, so I uploaded the audience to one of my favorite platforms, Audiense. Below, you can see the clustered sub-segments. The size of the clusters represents how large the audience is and how they are connected. Interesting to see that a few segments are broken down by two content collaboration vendors–Microsoft and Citrix. There’s a reason for this, addressed below. Keep reading.
From there, I drilled down to see what interests and characteristics were unique to the audience, and how each sub-segment compared to the larger group as a whole. This led to filtering out their media consumption habits so I can understand where they go to consume news. Below, you’ll see which media resonates collectively with the entire audience. The data represents mentions and shares over the last 12 months, with Business Insider leading the way, followed by TechCrunch, The New York Times and then Forbes.
Then I got curious. I wanted to know which content collaboration vendors were being discussed by the audience the most and in what context. I only focused on the Magic Quadrant category leaders, specifically Box, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Citrix Sharefile, and Syncplicity. But there’s a slight caveat. If you go back and take a look at the above segments, you’ll see that there’s a fairly large “Microsoft Enthusiasts” sub-segment, many of which are employees and Microsoft MVPs, which taints the below data. And to be fair, the CEO of Box is also a part of the audience I analyzed and he talks/shares quite a bit about Box.
To take it one step further, I looked at the conversation surrounding DropBox. Below you’ll see the topical conversational volume from this audience. The larger the boxes, the larger the conversation. The data is collected based on keywords, language, hashtags and content (URLs) shared. It’s interesting to see what’s top of mind for the audience, and drilling down in this data will surely lead to some significant insights.
So what’s next?
Well, it depends on what you do. If you work in PR, this data is gold. If you manage content, you’ll have to do a little more work and deep-dive into the unbranded conversation. Doing so can uncover whitespace that can inform a new narrative, content strategy, editorial approach or creative campaign. If you work in social, you can use this data (but in real-time) and create content that’s trending with the audience.
Here are some additional analyses on various topics, as a part of the data science class I am taking on Udemy. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.