Measure What Matters

When it comes to analytics, it is all about measuring what matters. Recently, I spoke to students at the University of Maryland at a Marketing Analytics 101 Workshop about the importance of social media analytics and how they work. Given that the audience was students, I primarily focused on breaking down the basics of analytics and provided an overview of key terms. I am sure you are familiar with all of social media metrics buzzwords such as impressions, reach, engagement, interactions, and clicks, so I won’t bore you with the basics. Let’s dive into what marketing metrics are the most relevant to your social media campaign and will help increase your bottom line:

• Brand search volume— A study found that customers that are exposed to a brand on social media are 180 percent more likely to search for that brand on search engines. It is evident that search volume for brands is an important metric. Google Trends is an effective tool to use to measure your brand’s search volume and compare your brand against your competitor’s volume. This data provides insight on how to engage customers on social media relative to your competition.

• Lead growth— Many business executives question if social media delivers a return on investment. This is sometimes a tough question to answer. While social followers or social mentions are a good indicator of overall brand awareness, it does not measure whether social media increased targeted leads to your website or an increase in sales. Therefore, I recommend using programs such as Marketo or Convertro, which measure how many social interactions, web page visits or email opens it takes before one of your client prospects becomes a customer. These programs pull data that illustrates how your social media campaign is performing and if it is effective. Additionally, they can show you how to improve your marketing efforts and where to allocate your resources in the future.

• Brand sentiment—To capture your brand’s sentiment it is all about measuring quality, not quantity. Quality metrics include opinions, feelings, satisfaction ratings, the quality of shares, comments, re-tweets, replies, ratings, and the quality of engagement over time. Social media has become one of the largest platforms for consumers to connect with brands and talk about them (whether that is a positive or negative discussion). Therefore, it is vital to measure the sentiment surrounding your brand online. Using a blend of monitoring tools such as Google Analytics and Meltwater can help you measure the quality metrics. As we know negative consumer sentiments can destroy your brand in very little time, therefore it is also important to know how to handle a social media crisis if a customer’s negative comment goes viral.

• Share of voice (SOV)—With social media share of voice refers to the number of conversations about your company versus your competitors/market. Measuring your brand’s share of voice among your competitor’s is a valuable way to uncover opportunities for improvement. For example, you may find that your efforts on one particular channel are going unnoticed, but excelling on another channel. With so many social media platforms available, it is important to know which ones your target audiences are using the most and engaging on. This way you will know where to invest your time and money, and get the most ROI on your marketing efforts. A program such as BrightEdge allows you to generate a detailed competitive analysis to find competitive benchmarks and discover trend predictions.

Being able to gauge the effectiveness of your social media can be a difficult task especially when you are trying to convince your boss that it will help increase the company’s bottom line. Therefore, start by making sure that you are tracking the right metrics. Brand searches, lead growth, brand sentiment and share of voice are just a few of the variables that can measure your company’s social impact and influence.