Social Media Analytics Brief
Analytics and measurement remains a contentious topic in digital. Some would argue that we are living in the age of advanced metrics, where measurement is important. Meanwhile, others would point to the fact that we often shy away from measurement for multiple reasons. Yet, there is a growing demand for tighter, leaner numbers on both front and back ends of campaigns.
There is no doubt that analytics is becoming an important part of digital strategy. Numbers usually do not lie (unless you want them to).
While we recognize the importance of analytics, we still struggle to identify what precisely needs to be measured and to what extent.
There is an overwhelming amount of categories to which we can apply analytics, both short and long term. I would argue that that list is incomplete because it doesn’t cover the entire scope of social listening as well as competitive analysis. You also have to break down these categories into social channels and demonstrate how they apply to business goals such as customer conversion or sales rates. These are all primary concerns for digital marketers moving forward.
What We Want to Focus On
The next step in analytics is to simplify measurement reports and narrow-in on the numbers that are important. The early trend was to include as much detail as possible, resulting in lots of numbers but little significance.
While impressions is a key stat, with changing algorithms it doesn’t always represent campaign effectiveness. Engagement on the other hand shows whether or not your content resonates with your audience as well as demonstrates its ability to grow organically across social platforms. In other words, engagement comes before impressions because it helps generate those impressions.
The next step is to identify the most important social and digital numbers that help you demonstrate effectiveness of your program (or flag the need for a strategic pivot). This can be conversion rates to a sales portal, or a click through rate on a YouTube ad. They key here is knowing what you’re looking for before you even begin the campaign which leads us to:
Tying Analytics to Business Goals
We need to demonstrate the right value. Digital marketers need to place more emphasis on access to client metrics to enhance reporting. Has there been an increased engagement online that corresponds with a good sales quarter? How many users are visiting the website or a sales portal from social properties? What is the click-through rate from a Twitter ad to the website? All of these stats demonstrate the effectiveness of social strategies when driving business results and we must get comfortable with showing them.
Recognizing Long and Short Term Analytics
There was an article on AdAge that discussed abolishing ROI measurements for social in lieu of ROEx2 (Return on Experience and Engagement). In the age of social, experience and engagement are important criteria, however, we must still factor the ROI measurements (we do have to adjust them for the reality of the digital landscape however).
To effectively measure both, we must pay equal attention to both long and short term analytics and demonstrate them to the client. Short term analytics (ROI) address campaign results and real-time customer data that shows how what we do affects business goals (online sales, event attendance, viewership). These results allow us to adapt tactics when we see something working (or not) and make sure we deliver the most effective content.
Long term analytics (ROEx2) require a deep dive into data. These numbers will not show immediate business results, however they demonstrate how a brand’s social presence cultivates relationships online, maintains engagement with users and grows organically across a digital infrastructure. By increasing the number of engaged users, brands increase the market size for those who will see their content (engagement leads to impressions) and in turn their potential audience. It’s important to track this growth and customer interaction because good long-term analytics can contribute to excellent short term gains and campaigns (and numbers).
It’s 2015, and we are less afraid of measuring our success than ever before.