sly : marketing

Social Media… How Do You Measure Success?

This post was written jointly by Ted Rubin and Casey Petersen
“Success” in a social campaign, and an annualized social media calendar, should be determined by the goals for the campaign and an overall long-term strategy… we like to use the term “Conditions of Satisfaction.” Far too often, companies start a campaign simply with the goal of having a “social” campaign, because that’s something they feel like they need to do or have been pitched by an agency. Most Social Marketing “experts” flock to those kinds of clients, and then pick some random metric as success.
In our world of coordinated creation of social media stories at Collective Bias, there’s typically two kinds of success, or ROI, on social campaigns – Cost Mitigation, and Sales Increase. And we believe there is a Return on Relationship (ROR) fostered by all brand relevant content and communication… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents, ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.
With Cost Mitigation, we look at success as generating more impressions than traditional media, for the same spend, or generating the same impressions for significantly less money.  It’s purely a CPM play. This is great for consumer packaged goods brands who have a large marketing budget, and view social as simply one part of their communication plan.
Tying Sales Increases to social is a bit trickier, since there’s almost no way to connect a register transaction at a retailer to a reader of a blog, a Facebook Fan, or to a Twitter follower. Sometimes, you can find a correlation in the amount of content produced per day, and the sales per day… but it varies wildly by product and shopping habits in a category. So understanding the brand and retailer, and the path-to-purchase, is very important and something we focus on when connecting shoppers with the brands and retailers they use in their daily lives to drive content and conversations. Coupons can also be a good tactic to tie some real-world transactions back to online influence via social when used appropriately and to better understand your audience.
Our preferred method of defining ROI is around annualized customer value. Typically a shopper who regularly absorbs content that references a brand in one manner or another… or a Facebook fan, Twitter follower, or particularly an email subscriber, for instance, is a more valuable customer than a non-fan/follower/subscriber. They may spend more (average order value) and visit more often and make more purchases (frequency of purchase), or remain loyal customer for a longer period of time (lifetime value of a customer). Very similar to legacy Loyalty Program metrics. Finding that average value isn’t all that difficult, and can give you a KPI for the campaign – readers of blog posts, new Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, or new email subscribers, that is tied to real-world value.
As far as measurement tools – there are a lot of interesting things out there. Ultimately, the best tool for “social” measurement is going to be able to quantify and track true influence… in other words, if you post about the new retina Macbook, do I value your opinion enough to make a decision based on that. Those tools don’t really exist yet.
In the meantime, there are some great tools that allow you to track the path of conversation, and conversation topics around your brand, impressions generated, virality, etc. On the low-cost end, we really like Viralheat. Up in the enterprise class, Sysomos has some great tools, Mutual Mind (our partner at Collective Bias) is doing some really interesting work in the area of influence metrics, and of course there is Radian6, probably the most recognized name in the tracking industry.
Overall when combining consumer and influencer-generated content and amplified online syndication, correctly structured and maintained media programs will produce significant results including Search Engine Optimization results that last, an increase in online share of voice compared to competitors, and engaged impressions and reach that drive brand awareness, loyalty and ultimately sales conversion.
My turn:
This is my first time reblogging a post from Triberr. I have been thinking a lot about this topic during the past months, so I found this post especially interesting. Are you up for a discussion? Come on, how do you measure success in social media?

14 responses to “Social Media… How Do You Measure Success?”

  1. Kumar says:

    Jens, With the advent of Social Media there has been a Paradigm shift from basics of 4P’s of Marketing mix to now only 1P of Marketing mix that is Promotion.


  2. Andrew says:

    Social Media there has been a Paradigm shift from basics of 4P’s of Marketing mix to now only 1P of Marketing mix that is Promotion. When combining consumer and content and amplified online syndication, correctly structured and maintained media programs will produce significant results including Search Engine Optimization, an increase in online share of voice compared to competitors.

    • That’s interesting Andrew. I am not sure if I follow you with the shift to 1P of the marketing mix, because I still believe that we need the other P’s, and especially the fifth P from Seth Godin, the Purple Cow 🙂

  3. Adrienne says:

    Ah congratulations Jens, I’ve been threatening to reblog a post through Triberr myself but just haven’t taken the plunge yet.

    I think this one was a little over my head if I must be honest with you. I’m sure from a business standpoint their ways of measuring their social media results are much more spot on then mine since I just normally use sites like Google Analytics and each individual site as well.

    I also know that my business model is a little different too so the interaction that I’m able to have really does show me which methods are working best for me at any given time.

    Not much of a decent comment on this one I’m afraid, sorry about that.

    Interesting though Jens, thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!


    • Thank you Adrienne. I love the reblogging option in Triberr, but I thought I was going to get an authors box with Ted Rubin’s name etc.. at the bottom, but that didn’t happen. I guess I better talk to Dino about that 🙂

      The reason I reblogged this post is that I have been thinking a lot about how to measure success in social media for my clients. Most of my clients are looking for increased sales and profit, and it’s hard to sell a car via social media alone, so I need an alternative way to measure success for them. And they won’t keep paying me unless they have some sort of success (and tracking the success).

  4. Aasma says:

    Hi Jens,

    Every business main goal is to make profit, however you must ensure the quality of your work and services. So if you can make more sales through Social Media then I would say that you’re successful with your Social Media efforts.

    • You’re absolutely right. The thing is that, like for some of my clients, it’s hard to know if the sales comes directly from social media, or from some other activities. That’s what we’re trying to measure. On the other hand, it’s easier to track leads and if people contact you because of what you did on social media 🙂

  5. Kata says:

    Useful thoughts, especially for me because I’m a newbie to the blogger scene. I’ve already heard a lot about the importance of social media as an effective online marketing tool, and after reading your post I feel more assured by there….thanks for sharing the useful information!

    • Hi Kata,

      Social media is definitively very powerful when it comes to relationships and creating engagement and traffic to your site, but it’s fairly hard to understand the return on investments (ROI) and to understand how to get more sales from social activities alone.

  6. Lisa says:

    I’ve been able to see sales directly from Twitter and in the past Facebook. I can see that on the back-end of the retail sites. Lots of traffic from Pinterest but no sale yet unless they come back and purchase as some do come directly to the site to purchase and not always from search or Twitter, etc. I also love Google Anayltics for seeing where the most visits come from. It is also interesting to see how different niches perform on the different platforms. I would also say success is based on the engagement level too. Viral heat sounds like a nice tracking tool too.

    • I am still thinking about how I’ll be able to track sales directly from social media. For instance, one of my clients is a car dealer, and I am not sure if we’ll sell a car based upon social media activity alone, so I am thinking that the goal might be to get leads from social media and create relationships (and get people to visit the store). If we can see this from social media, it means we’re successful, or what do you think?

  7. Bill Dorman says:

    Reblog, huh? Interesting……….

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