Measuring social media is the hot-button topic facing digital communications in 2011 and is likely to be every year until we land on a standardized approach. How do we set up measurement frameworks? Are we tracking things that ladder up to a broader business and communications objective? How often should we be measuring? Can we measure accurately when the standards keep changing?
The questions are always the same, no matter the platform or channel (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.) under consideration for a communications effort. Digital marketers are searching for the golden ticket (apologies to Willy Wonka) – the perfect outcome that justifies the money spent, time invested and actions directed. Truth be told, no perfect metric exists. The metrics for your campaign come from benchmark research, strategies and the development of tactical plans. Skipping a phase of research will likely result in use of the wrong metrics to gauge your success.
There are metrics, though, that tend to be under-examined in campaigns even after the proper planning process is undertaken.
What are those metrics?
Here are five metrics that typically fly under the radar, but should be looked at more closely.
- Referral traffic – If you are using your social embassies to drive traffic to your brand’s website, or some other eCommerce site, you’re going to want to track that traffic. It is important to understand where site visitors come from, but also how long these visitors stay on the site, what pages they view and where available, their demographic characteristics.
- Click-through Rate – The click-through rate (CTR) for an advertisement or piece of content is the number of clicks divided by the number of times shown (impressions). For non-analytics nerds, that means it’s a measure of how often someone clicks through to seek out more information about what is being promoted. CTR is a truly beneficial tracking metrics measure how engaging a piece of content (or ad) is to your audience.
- Conversions – Conversions in this case are the percentage of unique visitors who take a desired action upon visiting a website. It could be purchasing a product or service, signing up for more information or downloading a piece of content, for example. Typically, your web analytics platform will generate a snippet of code that you can embed onto your site. Once the code is applied, the platform you’re using places a cookie on the user’s computer or mobile phone when one of your pages is clicked. This allows marketers to track how the user is moving through the site, ideally toward a conversion that makes sense for your campaign.
- Lead Generation – Take a look at your social embassy and tally up the number of people who have admitted to having a change of heart about your product following a positive post. Similarly, take a look at the number of conversations happening online about your brand looking for assistance. Have you reached out to them? Guess what? Those are leads.
- Anything “per post” – Okay, I’ll admit…This isn’t a single metric. However, far too often we’re looking at the total number of impressions, or interactions, or page views. Take a look at what the average is per post. It’s actually a much more realistic barometer for future planning and analysis.
Metrics aren’t something that you pick and choose from a menu. A little from column “A,” “B,” and “C” isn’t the proper approach. Go through the planning process and arrive at the metrics that make the most sense for your business. As you do that, give some consideration to these metrics.
What are some metrics that you think are under-examined in digital marketing?
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