Missing The Measuring

I guess there is generally good news with respect to marketers and how they’re measuring social media.

English: A business ideally is continually see...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The”generally” qualification, however, means that there’s still some work to be done. As you’ll see from the data below, while many organizations are getting better about measuring the effectiveness of what they’re doing, what they’re using as key performance indicators could use a lot of fine tuning.

According to the results of a survey put out by the folks at Ipsos OTX for the Association of National Advertisers, 80% of US client-side marketers measured the effectiveness of their social content, with social media metrics such as “likes” the most common.  That’s the good news.  The bad? Metrics that could identify business ramifications were not used nearly as much, with financially based measurements such as return on investment and sales landing near the bottom.

What did the study find that these companies are measuring?  “Likes” leads the list.  Putting aside that it’s an easy number to fake (you can buy thousands of likes for not much money) if you had a reason to do so (your bonus is tied to the number perhaps?), it’s a quantitative factoid that has very little to do with results.  It’s very likely that a brand would make more revenue from a couple of thousand highly interactive fans who post one comment each, than from one million fans who rarely interact with the brand.  Something as basic as follower counts or likes might have importance but it’s a relational importance – how many do we have vs. our competition – rather than being important in and of itself.

Some of what the study found is encouraging.  “Advocacy” is being measured by 27% of brands and “conversation volume” by 52%.  Those are engagement numbers.  It’s good to measure how many people see a post.  It’s better to measure how many are talking about it.  It’s way better to understand what they’re saying and the best is when you can measure all of that along with seeing and reporting what actions they took.  Hopefully that action rang a cash register or brought you a new customer.

Does that make sense?

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