Recaping Part I on Engagement Metrics
- Outlining Engagement Metrics (in a Dashboard Report too): Eric Peterson lays out in snapshots not only what his view of metrics would be, but also look like in a actual report (something other have yet to do).
- Calling for Holistic Measurement: Working with â€œbuzz measurementâ€ companies like BuzzMetrics is only half the battle, this needs to be combined with on-site analytics tools like WebTrends, WebSiteStory HBX/Visual Sciences and others.
On to Part II
Defining: Engagement Metrics v. Reputation Management
Words like “Engagement Metrics” and “Metric Management (as it applies online)” are evolving terms. For the sake of this discussion, I’d like to say they are different but overlapping.
- Engagement Metrics: A broad term to identify any data that measures how actively social media content is being use, where answering the question “how well-known is my Video-Sharing website?” proves more difficult than quantifying pageviews.
- Reputation Management: Reputation management needs most of the numbers from Engagement Metrics (and then some), but its obsessed with more traditional PR concerns: “What are people saying about my Video-Sharing website?” What is the Tone? Who is saying that? How can we influence/make the best of what is being said? This is harder to quantify, as it is asking for quality, vibrancy, and direction of the conversation. This is no longer really the realm of gather metrics, but rather deep analysis.
Defined by above, Engagement Metrics is far easier to define than Reputation Management, which requires far more understanding of the competitive landscape and marketing/pr/branding goals on a case-by-case basis.
Applying ROI to Social Media: Can Engagement Metrics Really Do This?
By separating Engagement Metrics v. Reputation Management, let’s focus on Engagement Metrics and its challenges in quantifying data.
In gauging Reputation Metrics, one major question for a company’s management is “How many people from a corporate blog, youtube video, widget are visiting a website and interacting (purchase, registration) or phoning the sales team?”
The value in answering this question is obvious. While the above goes beyond Engagement Metrics (as defined here), the boss that holds the marketing/pr budget will eventually asks this question. Social Media will have to answer to ROI.
Trying Inventive Ways of Tracking
But can we literally track a YouTube video about on “Brand X” Blueray DVD player all the way to a purchase? Sure there are some inventive ways: blogs/widgets/youtube videos displaying unique and trackable URLs, phone numbers and promotional codes to trace everything to a sale. But are they reliable and worth the trouble?
Limitations and Pitfalls
While there are cases where this may work, in most general cases it is not advisable nor practical (at least with current practices/technology):
- Sales Cycle can be long causing issues regarding short-term ROI v. long-term ROI (how long is long?).
- With so many ways for a company to be contacted, you cannot entirely rely on a simple – easily circumvented – tracking mechanism (a unique URL), when someone could search your website and find the corp. sales number.
- Metrics are needed to understand that out of 100 visitors who used the special codes, how many on average didn’t?
- Additionally, there maybe other parallel campaigns being conducted. Are searches for “Company ABC” going up because of the blog or video? Or because of massive banner campaign?
Assessing Success as a Online Marketing v. Online PR Person: Going for the Hybrid
Online Marketers are used to the ability to track everything to the dime – gathering data on how a banner or PPC campaign led to a whitepaper download, registration, or making a purchase. Social Media (at its current form) throws these expectations off balance.
Meanwhile, PR folks are used to more fluid metrics that while can be tangable – how many people came to an event or mentions in major media outlets – are not as “hard ROI” as an online marketers reports on for a PPC campaign for an online retailer, for example.
Since Social Media is online there is data to be tracked, however there are too many unknowns to pin down a “hard ROI”. A middle approach (between marketer and PR) is needed.
Here are some quick thoughts of what that would look like:
- Marketing: Getting a direct “Dollar Value” for Social Media ROI (Taking from Forrester):
- Assigning Dollar Value to various trackable Engagement Metrics
(e.g.: press mentions archived on online media outlets v. cost for doing the same via other tactics, youtube views/cost of video vs. reach of television ad campaign/cost)
- Value of participating in a medium targeted audience are active in
- Brand building and awareness
Overall, we must seek to help understand and analyze Social Media using currently understood metrics, yet the “newness” and uniqueness of the medium requires us to approach and apply it differently and understand most importantly the limitations in metrics.
Please note that I myself am uncovering and researching where I stand on engagement metrics, so apologies for the lack of proper organization in this series of posts. I hope that you’ll be encouraged to participate and help shape the conversation in this discussion.