Live from OMMA Social: The State of Social Media Metrics

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Jun 23, 2009
More Articles by Janet


The second keynote of the day was from Vipin Mayar of MRM Worldwide who covered “The State of Social Media Metrics”.

Vipin started off with some basics about measurement

  1. The first issue is the problem of data abundance. There’s so much data out there, how do you gain value from it?
  2. The second issue is that there’s a cornucopia of measurements — make sure they focus on what can create actionable results.

He gave an example of the topic of depression. There was a desire to understand when people are most depressed. Dr. Cliff Arnall did research and found out the based on factors like weather, debt, etc. declared that January 22 was the most depressing day of the year. But new data shows that based on search volume, searches on April 16 were the highest for the year for the term “depression”. So he says “data is the new sexy”, but you have to know how to use it.

What is the buzz around social media?

Many marketers today either think that social media is overhyped (69% of senior marketers) and others think it is the number one opportunity for growth. eMarketer says that it is a $1.2B market – BUT, that’s only 5% of all online spend right now. By 2012 it will reach $1.5B, but that will still be less than 5% of the online market.

Why is it important?

  • CMOs in a recent survey said that they would not cut budgets in social media even in the recession and even without being able to prove ROI.
  • Also, service and trust are the most important factors in a buying decision, but in 2007, only 17% of consumers say they trusted advertisers and in 2008, only 10% rated advertising practitioners as honest. BUT, friends and family are the most trusted source for consumers.
  • There’s a shifting marketing paradigm towards engagement. If you have the right content in the right places, you’ll get the right reach to buyers.

Where are the consumers? According to various studies, depending on the source, about 45% of audiences are in social media spaces.

What is holding marketers back?

  • Consumers are not clicking on ads and social users are even less advertising-inclined than other Internet users.
  • Marketers don’t know how to measure and monetize their investment in social media.

How do you measure and learn?

Digitial Media Measurement Landscape

If you’re not doing ecommerce, what is the right metric for digital media in general? The problem is that the digital marketing space itself is lacking the right metric to begin with. None of the traditional measurments, like click through rate and others, measure engagement. He uses an appoach called the Qualified Visitor(tm).

Social Media Metrics

Measurement here is even more important because we want others to publish our content.  Marketers also believe that social media drives brand reputation, brand awareness and search engine rankings. But it’s hard to measure brand. You also have to be able to measure across all of the types of social media.

Must measure:

  • engagement
  • brand
  • across all social media

So what are the right metrics for social media? The metrics framework needs to have components from exposure to engagement to outcome to ROI.

Exposure is impressions, share of voice, reach, visits, visitors, unique visitors, and audience demographics. Engagement is clicks, time spent, download, content views, comments, ratings, uploads, content sharing, advocacy, content creation (text, video, etc.) and Qualified Visitors ™. Outcome is brand awareness, reported intended behavior (purchase or activity), topic awareness, attitude shift, perceived sentiment.

It’s also important to designate KPI vs. diagnostic metrics. Diagnostic metrics help determine what is driving the KPIs.

How do you get to ROI? You need purchase data. You can get this through:

  • Self-stated information
  • Match to a transaction database (most reliable) — ex. Salesforce.com
  • Capturing online purchase

Four steps to get to ROI via self-stated information:

  1. Survey site visitors
  2. Build a control group
  3. Determine lift
  4. Calculate ROI

Some key takeaways:

  • Social media spending is growing
  • There are too many measures to select from
  • Use a framework to select metrics and ROI

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