I recently had been working with a small venture start-up, and was given the task of developing the measurement plan for an upcoming campaign. Figuring out what to measure was relatively easy, but defining what “goodness” looks like – specifically in social media – proved to be a much more difficult task, and with good reason. According to Social Media Examiner only 1 in 4 marketers agree that they can effectively measure the worth of their social media activities. In fact, there are many reasons companies still don’t measure their social media efforts
In doing research on defining what to measure, I came across a multitude of articles and opinions on what critical measures need to be looked at in order to evaluate the success of a social media campaign. Assuming you have already gotten past the “should I use social media” question, here are some thoughts on what to measure.
What is important to your business?
If anyone off the street were to ask me, “what should I measure online?” – my answer would always be “it depends.” Before I could tell someone what to measure, I need to know what’s important to their business. What are the strategic goals that are trying to be accomplished, and what is the primary purpose of the campaign?
We can make some blanket assumptions like we are trying to grow our online community, trying to sell more product, and trying to create positive consumer interaction with our campaign. If we move forward with these assumptions, here is a list of social media metrics that matter.
When we talk about reach, we are really talking about the size of your online community. As awareness of your brand spreads, and consumers share more of your content, you should be gaining more and more followers. The measures specifically would be the number of followers, and percent increase of time, either weekly or monthly.
Quite simply stated, amplification is the amount of exposures or impressions a given campaign has. There are certain organic ways of measuring amplification, such as your community size. The intent, or focus of this metric are the things you can’t control organically – which are paid media. The current situation on Facebook calls for paid media and promoted posts just for your existing community base to see your posts, let alone to try and move beyond your existing followers.
While reach and amplification are indicators of how many people have the potential to see a message, engagement tells us who is interacting with your message. The number of likes or favorites per post are the measures that marketers would use to measure social media engagement. When people are engaging with your content, there is a greater likelihood of your brand and messages being perceived favorably, ultimately leading to more sales through social channels.
4. Attrition Rate
When marketers publish content through social media, it is important not to turn off their audience. An often overlooked metric is attrition of the community. Just like in email, you do not want to have a high number of opt outs. There are a number of reasons people quit following online with companies posting online too much being the leading cause of attrition. Measuring this activity can give insights into communication frequency and relevance.
5. Click Through Rate
In most social media campaigns, you ultimately want the readers to actually DO something. In some cases it’s a like or a share, but in many other cases it is a click through for some other follow up action like going to a blog to read a full article, or to download an app. Regardless of what the call to action is, marketers need to understand how effective the post is at getting the audience to actually DO that follow up action.
6. Conversion Rate
If we’re thinking in terms of a marketing funnel, Click Through Rate would be in the middle of the funnel. Conversion rate is the bottom of the funnel, and measures the ultimate end action you want the consumer to complete. Often the conversion activity is a purchase of a product, but in other cases it might be less invasive like an email sign-up, or a white-paper download. A critical comp0nent to successfully reporting the conversion rate is to accurately tie conversions back to the traffic source, usually through web analytics campaign tracking. .
7. Return on Investment
ROI is the Holy Grail of marketing metrics. I give my biggest accolades to those savvy marketers who are tracking the ROI of their social media activities. While I think most organizations understand they need some sort of social media presence, the value of a social media program is often still murky. Many marketers have to prove the value through an ROI analysis. In order to do this you need to be able to not only track directly clicked events that tie to a conversion (Ex: social commerce) but also socially influenced events. There are many attribution models that can help determine the best way of allocating a portion of a sale to a social action. Once you understand how to track both direct and influenced activities, you will have a clear grip on total revenue brought in through social channels. When the revenue is divided by the total cost of a campaign or program, you have a better picture of ROI.
Are you effectively measuring your social media efforts? Comment below.