Are your social media efforts working? That’s one of the most misunderstood questions in marketing today. “Working” can mean a number of different things, depending if you’re a content marketer, a business owner, a CMO, a CFO, and more.
A few months ago, I wrote a popular post on the right way to measure social media ROI, and now I want to take social media measurement to the next level. There really is no “right” way to measure social media. The more blogs and books you read on the subject, the more confused you probably get. Remember, no one went to college to master in social media. It’s all about thinking about social networking from a business sense. Social media marketing in theory isn’t all that different from traditional media (well it is, but). You are still providing a compelling, unique message via a media channel to target audiences most likely to do business with you. Isn’t that what marketing is supposed to be? I digress- let’s get back to measurement.
There are so many social media tools, platforms, and analytics hubs (many we use); so I wrote this to put in perspective my view on social media analytics and how I combine the various metrics into a measurement dashboard that makes sense to all parties as discussed above. This post includes a sample dashboard based on our real world approach to social media clients.
In social media, there are three major categories of measurement: Reach, Engagement and Website Traffic. For each category, metrics should be weighted by importance. One thing social media measurement tools do not do a good job on is weighting specific metrics. Weighting is the concept of giving more value to specific social media activity deemed more important to your business; and giving less value to less important metrics. I explain later the concept of weighting why it’s an important consideration in social media measurement.
For the social media measurement dashboard below, you’ll note 4 columns: Previous Period Number, Current Period Number, Percent Change, and Weight. We’ll focus on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and YouTube. The metrics I gather are based on our favorite analytics tools, but other tools and platforms include may include some of them also.
The goal of any marketing is to capture efficient conversions. The process begins with building fans and followers, but these followers need to be the right audiences; ones more likely to visit your website, landing page, or blog. By getting these audiences to your digital destination, the opportunity for conversion begins. In the meantime, the quality content you share will attract audiences, and that’s the first step.
Social media is not a numbers game. It’s not a race to have more connections than your colleagues. We know that. So the important metric here is percentage growth per week, 2 weeks, or month (up to you on how you want to utilize the dashboard)
- Lists you appear on
- Followers Lost
Twenty Feet is an example of a social media analytics platform we use that captures this data.
If you wish you can track 7 day potential reach, from Twitilyzer. Potential Reach sums your follower count and the sum of your followers’ followers for any follower retweeting any of their Tweets during the previous seven days to estimate the total potential reach on Twitter at any given time. In other words, if you tweet good content, and your followers retweet you, your reach numbers should increase.
- Total New Fans
- Total Removed Fans
Page Lever tracks new fans (likes) by time period, with 20 or 30 day comparisons.
- Organic Reach- The number of times your posts are potentially seen on tickers or newsfeeds
- Viral reach- The number of times your messages are seen due to user interaction (likes, shares, comments)
- Total circles you are in
- Channel subscribers
- Video Views
Engagement metrics is what you hear most often when measuring social media. It really measures the strength of your content; how informative and how interesting it is. If your content is either informative or interesting, it will be shared. Social media is about being social, so a big part of social media engagement effectiveness is retweeting other people’s content to your followers, and having them retweet yours. It’s especially powerful if those retweeters mention your Twitter handle. Likewise on Facebook, audiences can comment, like, and share of course, but it’s ideal that you participate in the conversation as well on your business page.
Keep in mind, that a big part of social media is sharing your own content, otherwise how do potential prospects find your blog or landing page? That’s where website metrics and conversions come in. Let’s review key engagement metrics for our spreadsheet:
- Retweets of Your Content
- Your Retweets
Again, Twenty Feet measures this for a given time period.
- Number of Posts
- Clicks- On your posts (such as links, videos, photos)
EdgeRank is an algorithm that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will be more likely to show up in the news feed than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores. The metrics above are captured on EdgeRank checker; a tool we use with our social media clients.
- Number of posts (This one count manually)
Google+ activity data is available within the new social media reports in Google Analytics, as below.
- Number of videos
The next category is measuring the affect social media has on your website traffic and conversions. By increasing traffic to your website or landing page, you have an increased opportunity to capture leads into your funnel. Assuming you have conversion goals set-up in Google Analytics, whether they be a purchase confirmation, a web form confirmation, or a view of a specific page, you’ll be able to measure the role of social media and conversion.
From the Social Media Overview report in Google Analytics, capture this data, and keep in mind to keep the time frame the same as the above metrics, so that we’re apples-to-apples when preparing the dashboard:
- Visits via Social Referral (all social media)
- Assisted Social Conversions: How social media affects future conversions from other sources (Google’s way of measuring attribution, as long as a conversion occurs within 30 days of the social media visit)
- Last Interaction Conversions: A social media visit that leads directly to a defined conversion
- Assisted Conversion Value: The dollar value of an assisted conversion
- Last Interaction Conversion Value: The dollar value of a last interaction conversion
Finally, there is your Klout score, which measures your personal influence and combines many of the engagement metrics listed above, plus LinkedIn comments and post likes. Keep in mind that this is based on personal influence, so no Facebook business pages or Google+ business pages are included in the calculation.
NEXT, THE DASHBOARD
Next the raw numbers are entered into our social media dashboard per below. Some explanations:
Flat versus weighted engagement rate.
Engagement rates measure the active commenting and sharing of your posts as compared to the total posts for the determined time period.
Flat engagement rates measure each key metric as equals.
- Twitter: (Other Retweets Plus Replies)/Total Tweets
- Facebook: (Likes plus Comments Plus Shares Plus Clicks)/Total Posts
- Google+ (Plus 1s Plus Comments Plus Reshares)/Total Posts
- YouTube (Likes Plus Comments Plus Shares)/ Total Posts
Weighted Engagement Rate.
In my humble opinion (maybe yours too), Twitter replies, Facebook Likes, Google +1s, and YouTube likes are not as relevant as more interactive engagements such as retweeting, commenting and sharing, which take more thought.. So in this model, I allow metric weighting. The last column on the dashboard shows a weight, if you so desire. A 3 means that the metric is 3x more important to you than a 1 weight. The engagement calculations are based on this weight, basically multiplying the specific metric by 3, or 2, or 4. My weighting system as below gives commenting or retweeting 3x the weight of a like or a reply, and gives sharing 2x the weight of a like or a +1. The weight level is purely optional, and up to you to consider this, if you too believe that post comments and shares carry more weight than a simple “like.”
Assisted Conversion Value Adjustment
Google Analytics (free version) treats assisted conversions the same as last interaction conversions as far as number of conversions and value. For those who prefer to measure revenue by taking into account attribution, you can put a weight number on the adjusted assisted value row as below, which calculates the value of assisted conversions x the adjustment. There’s no set rule here regarding attribution value, but you should be consistent across all media channels when evaluating how viewed messages that are not clicked affect a last click conversion credited to another channel. The below example shows a .25 in the weight column, which takes the assisted conversion value as calculated by Google Analytics, and reduces it by 75%. The goal here is to report true social media value or revenue, and emphasizing last interaction conversion value over assisted value.
The total conversion value line adds the adjusted assisted value plus the last interaction value. If you wish to not allow an adjusted assisted value, simply replace the .25 with a 1.
Well that about covers it for now. I’m sure you may have questions. Below is the sample dashboard. Due to the size, I placed it as three parts to maintain clarity. The real version is one page. The comment field highlights the week or period, including mentions of most engaged tweets and posts, as well as any recommendations. If you’d like a clean copy or have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or you can download it here on Google Docs: FYI we can do this dashboard for you as well; feel free to inquire.
What are your thoughts and suggestions? Make sense?