Marketing Research Guides: An Online Experiment with Libguides

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Transcript Marketing Research Guides: An Online Experiment with Libguides

Marketing Research Guides:
An Online Experiment with LibGuides
14th Off-Campus Library Services Conference
in Cleveland, OH April 29, 2010
Mira Foster ([email protected])
Hesper Wilson ([email protected])
Nicole Allensworth ([email protected])
Diane Sands ([email protected])
J. Paul Leonard Library
San Francisco State University
What we’ll cover today…
• a brief history of research guides-especially as used at SF State
• what led us to market our guides
• discussion of Social Media/Marketing
• our marketing project
• overview of statistics-gathering
• some issues that came up…
• our conclusions
• We marketed our LibGuides
• Our techniques made some impact,
• Our statistics taught us…
• Guide usage is causally related to in-person instruction
• LibGuides ≠ instruction substitute
• LibGuides = supplement to instruction
• LibGuides = invitation to relationships
Case Study
San Francisco State University
• California State University System (23 campuses)
• Approx. 30,000 students on our campus
J. Paul Leonard Library
• 20+ librarians
• 100+ research guides
• construction and furloughs
Student Outreach – As things stood
• At the Leonard Library…
-lots of in-class instruction (course integrated seminars)
-looking for ways to reach more students efficiently
• Library Literature reports…
-poor rate of return for energy spent on guides
-some advocate course-specific guides
-survey at GWU reveals: users don’t find guides useful
(Curtois, Higgins & Kapur, 2005)
LibGuides to the Rescue!
• In 2007, the LibGuides content management system is
introduced, making librarians into
“information superheros” !
• Library Literature reports re LibGuides
-librarians’ lives easier
-that teaching faculty:
-appreciate the resources created
-believe LibGuides have improved student
assignments (Horne and Adams, 2009)
We were Game!
Adopted LibGuides in 2007
All guides converted by Spring 2009
Some guides changed radically, others didn’t
One big change:
subject liaison (librarian) contact information
added to the guides
Our Guides move into the Modern Age
Initial Research Questions
• A promising phenomenon
-Rock-star guides
-Online announcements
spikes in use
• We asked ourselves:
-can a LibGuide substitute for in person instruction?
-is there a publicity problem?
-should we market our LibGuides?
-will it make a difference?
Relationship Marketing (RM)
• Establish and enhance
relationships -everyone’s needs are
met (Gronroos, 1990)
• Trusting relationships
• Liaison model
Tenets of WOM
• The conversation is already
taking place
• Authenticity
• Transparency
• Individuals not institutions
• Use all the tools
Theory vs. Practice
• Desire to control messaging
• Institutional vs.
individual participation
• Attracting peers vs.
• Experimental
– no consensus yet on which tools /
strategies work
Research Design Overview
• 3-month study in Fall 2009
• Randomized list of guides with a control group and an
experimental group (to be marketed)
• Marketing Team: 7-8 guides per person
• Librarian Survey: LibGuides in their work, LibGuides in
their social media realms
• Usage data from LibGuides and Google Analytics
Marketing Methods
Home Page Feature
Blog Posting
Faculty Emails
And fruitless bookmarking
early on…
[email protected]
Librarian Survey Results
• 14 of 17 Librarians responded
• Most reported mentioning guides during reference /
• Many reported displaying or demonstrating guides to
students and sending URLs to faculty
• Instruction correlated to guide use.
Homepage Feature
• Featured LibGuides:
3 guides per day
from marketed group
• Measurement: Redirect code
+ Google Analytics
• 49 links on Library homepage
• No impact on guide usage
Blog Posting
• Strategically timed announcement
on Library blog
• Few clicks from blog
• But guide hits during
the target period did
go up
• Fall 2009: 18 of 31 marketed
guides were tweeted
• Initial curiosity with first
#SFSU tweets
• Many followers were from
our peer group
• Joined groups and posted links (no integration)
• Promoting own guide works better
• Friends were from our peer group
Faculty Emails
• Strategically timed direct marketing emails to teaching
– Preservation of significant relationships
– Some sent by Librarian Liaison, some by Marketing Team
– Successful both ways
Dear International Relations Faculty,
For your students doing research International Relations this semester there is a library research
guide available at It provides information on how
to take advantage of our library's sites and sources.
We'd appreciate it if you would send this link to your students. It might be especially useful next
week when librarians are on furlough.
• LibGuides provides them…
• Google Analytics offer a good supplement
Springshare Stats: Pro & Con
• Easy to use; can view stats for all guides or individual
tabs/pages, links, and files within a specific guide; no
need to use html or scripts
• More tabs/pages equals more hits counted
• LibGuide Usage Statistics do not demarcate between
the guide author and guide user
• Only monthly figures are available
Google Analytics: Pro & Con
• Lots of info available
(where users are, how they get to us, what
software/hardware/connection they’re using, etc.)
• Daily counts!
• Number of unique visitors as opposed to total # of visits
(i.e., counting editor visits over and over)
• Harder to navigate
• And… do you want Google to have info about your site?
Results Overall
• Control group: 27% increase
Results Overall
• Marketed guides: 63% increase
Whither Research Guides?
• Pedagogical problem:
– LibGuides site vs. Library site?
– Teaching site architecture
• Authorship problem
• Inconsistent coverage and use
– Subject vs. course guides
– Different librarian attention
• The time librarians spend teaching increases the use of
their guides
• Social marketing brings users to
librarians with whom they spend
more time
flickr liceo_respighi
Cult of Personality
• Marketing products vs. marketing librarians
• Surrogate marketing
Surrogate librarians?
• SF State: Primacy of the subject liaison
Conclusions: Marketing
• Marketing a product would have worked better if our
library was marketed with a brand.
• Marketing librarians (brand You!) is easier in online
social marketing.
• The only strategies that appeared to work were those
– Used existing relationship channels (faculty emails)
– Forged new relationships (instruction)
Conclusions for Our Library
Guides are not a substitute for in-person instruction.
Guides are a supplement to in-person instruction.
• Marketing
More relationships
• Marketing
more use
Suggestions (for us… for you?)
• Create “marketing materials” for librarians to use
• Build a library brand
• Market librarians
• Most striking finding: Direct causal relationship between
in-person instruction and number of visits to guides
Selected References
(see conference proceedings for full bibliography)
Courtois, M. P., Higgins, M. E., & Kapur, A. (2005). Was this guide helpful?
Users' perceptions of subject guides. Reference Services Review, 33(2),
188-196. doi: 10.1108/00907320510597381
Gronroos, C. (1990). Service management and marketing. Managing the
moments of truth in service competition, Lexington, MA: Free
Press/Lexington Books.
Horne, A., & Adams, S. (2009). Do the outcomes justify the buzz?: An
assessment of LibGuides at Cornell University and Princeton University.
Presented at the Association of Academic and Research Libraries, Seattle,
WA. Retrieved from
SF State Libguides:
SF State Library Web Site:
Springshare LibGuides - Web 2.0 for Library 2.0. Retrieved December 17,
2009, from
Image Credits
• Owls: From Bahman Farzad's photostream[email protected]/3181451090/
• Word-of-Mouth hand-drawn diagram: From tomlobo's photostream
• Red Man with question: Diane Sands, SF State Librarian illustrator
• Time Time Time warped clock: From Liceo Scientifico Respighi's