An interesting exercise is to compare the relative web traffic between the largest advisory analyst firm (Gartner), the largest IT market research firm (IDC) and a very visible analyst who has his own blog. Using the site comparison feature of Compete here is the graphic showing Forrester analyst extraordinaire and social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang’s (bio, Twitter handle, blog) personal blog Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Gartner.com and IDC.com:
Click here or on the graphic to enlarge. The top blue line is Jeremiah’s blog, the green middle line is Gartner.com and the bottom orange line is IDC.com. There is not a single month in the past year where Web Strategy by Jeremiah did not receive more unique visitors (an average of 136,000 per month) than Gartner.com and IDC.com combined.
Not an apples-to-apples comparison… and that is the point
Of course, comparing two very different types of websites, a blog vs. corporate sites, is not an apples-to-apples assessment. Rather this illustrates how a savvy analyst can leverage a personally branded blog to obtain unique access to a broader audience than he could even on the regular research website of a $1.2bn but very traditional analyst firm. This is because the analyst blog is easily assessable to the firm’s non-clients as well as clients. An analyst’s research on a traditional firm’s regular website is accessible only by clients which obviously limits potential readership.
Besides providing an analyst access to much larger audience which could enhance their credibility, a widely read blog also provides an expanded set of research tools. Gartner and Forrester analysts traditionally rely on data points gathered from client phone-based inquiries. While valuable, this is a data set restricted to only the firm’s clients and further restricted to those that make the effort to set up inquiries. This tends to create a skewed view rather than a broad-based landscape. An analyst with a widely-read blog that gets a fair number of comments or participation in polls or surveys on the blog gets a much broader set of data points to complement the information received from clients.
Another aspect of this wider exposure is that the various audiences are overlapping which gives the analyst both an additive opportunity and a reinforcing aspect. Someone who is a firm client and does the occasional inquiry, sees the analyst speaking at a firm conference, and also reads the analyst’s blog consistently will possibly be more influenced by that analyst than an individual only exposed to one form of communication.
Of course, Mr. Owyang is off the charts when it comes to unique visitors to his blog. However, a more typical analyst can also use a personal blog to expand visibility. For example, Forrester analyst Ray Wang (bio, Twitter handle, blog) who covers the considerably less sexy ERP market has received between 4,000 and 7,000 unique visitors per month on A Software Insider’s Point of View this year. This is certainly multiple times the traditional visibility he gets through inquiries, client reads of his research on Forrester.com, and firm conference speeches. Because Ray’s blog probably has an audience of enterprise IT managers and vendors – sorry, but who else would care about ERP? – he is reaching a large audience of relevant enterprise decision makers through his blog. Not bad.
Beyond blogs there are a growing number of other social media that a savvy analyst can exploit independently from her or his employer. This visibility adds up providing a greatly enhanced footprint in the market for the analyst.
- AR teams should take into account analysts’ social media traffic when calculating the “Visibility” component of their analyst list ranking methodology
- AR should give different weights to the various types of visibility because not every Twitter follower or blog reader will necessarily be relevant to the vendor
Bottom Line: Social media gives smart analysts an excellent independent platform that complements their presence on their firms’ websites. AR needs to take this into account when determining analyst list ranking and ultimately for setting the priorities for which analysts should receive personalized outreach.
Question: AR – Do you evaluate analyst social media traffic when considering an analyst’s market visibility?