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A Social Media New Year's Metrics Resolution


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 04:57 PM

A superb article touching the business metrics aspect of social media, by Don Bartholomew (aka MetricsMan): Social Media Measurement 2011: Five Things to Forget and Five Things to Learn, 30-December-2010.
Note: He is VP, Digital Research at Fleishman Hillard, one of the world's largest Public Relations agencies (and part of the Omnicon Group).

Note: I have selectively quoted under each point.

Things to Forget in 2011

1. Impressions

Number of Impressions is a flawed, unwashed masses metric for social media measurement. Any time you are tempted to use the word ‘impressions’ in social media, think about ‘potential reach’ or ‘opportunities to see’ instead. Or better yet, concentrate on Engagement and Influence.

2. Vanity Metrics – Fans and Followers
Number of Fans and Followers are metrics you probably should include in your overall metrics set, but should be de-emphasized and not be a primary area of focus.

3. Standardization
But in 2011, I expect a lot of debate but not a lot of progress in creating social media measurement standardization. ...there is a big difference between motivating someone to action ... and motivating someone to purchase which is ultimately the type of influence many companies and brands are most interested in effecting.

4. Ad or Media Equivalency
The true value of social media is not how much an equivalent ad would have cost but in the impact it has on brand, reputation and marketing.

5. Return on Engagement/Influence/etc.
Many confuse the notion of impact with ROI ... Engagement creates impact for a brand or organization, but may or may not generate ROI in the short-term. Creating influence – effecting someone’s attitudes, opinions and/or actions – creates impact but may or may not create ROI in the short-term. It often is better to think about measuring impact first and then deciding whether or not you have the means and data necessary to attribute financial value.

Things to Learn in 2011

1. Measurable Objectives

There are many issues and challenges in the field of social media measurement. The easiest one to fix is for everybody to learn how to write measurable objectives. Most objectives today are either not measurable as written or are strategies masquerading as objectives.

2. Impact versus ROI
Most social media initiatives today do not (or should not) have ROI as a primary objective. Most social programs are designed to create impact, not ROI, in the short-term. There is also the notion that many social media initiatives are in an investment phase, not a return phase of maturity.

3. Hypothetical ROI Models
One important step in determining how a social media initiative creates ROI for an organization is to create a hypothetical model that articulates the cascading logic steps in the process, as well as the data needed and assumptions used. The model is most useful in the planning stages of a program.

4. Integrated Digital Measurement
Communicators should now take a more content and consumer-centric view of the world, orchestrating all the consumer touch points available in our increasingly digital world.

5. Attribution
If you are not already familiar with value attribution models, prepare to hear much more about them in 2011. Value attribution models attempt to assign a financial value to specific campaigns and/or channels (e.g. advertising, search, direct, social) that are part of a larger marketing effort. So rather than giving all the conversion credit to the last click in a chain or even the first click, the model attributes portions of the overall value across the relevant campaigns and/or channels.

A taste of a delectably useful article. :) Go read.

#2 AbleReach

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:31 PM

2. Vanity Metrics – Fans and Followers
Number of Fans and Followers are metrics you probably should include in your overall metrics set, but should be de-emphasized and not be a primary area of focus.

Probably maybe. It depends on how you get your fans - if it's through personal networking or follower-getter schemes.

3. Standardization
But in 2011, I expect a lot of debate but not a lot of progress in creating social media measurement standardization. ...there is a big difference between motivating someone to action ... and motivating someone to purchase which is ultimately the type of influence many companies and brands are most interested in effecting.

I think this will continue to drive SEOs (and iamlost) a little nutty. I am learning that each niche and each brand presence is a little different. You have to go and look at what Social Media platforms are getting used and what character of action there is, *for each set of keywords, for each client.*

#3 cre8pc

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 04:29 PM

5. Attribution
If you are not already familiar with value attribution models, prepare to hear much more about them in 2011. Value attribution models attempt to assign a financial value to specific campaigns and/or channels (e.g. advertising, search, direct, social) that are part of a larger marketing effort. So rather than giving all the conversion credit to the last click in a chain or even the first click, the model attributes portions of the overall value across the relevant campaigns and/or channels.


My first thought is "Oh no! Not another word I'll hear 3million times". The word "conversions" was the big thing all last year.

How is attribution analysis done?

#4 iamlost

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:35 PM

"Oh no! Not another word I'll hear 3million times".

:D
Sadly, given my reply to your following question, I expect that you will not only hear it but that it will be widely misunderstood and misrepresented ala PageRank. :violin:

How is attribution analysis done?

This is where the difficulty arises...

The term/technique has been borrowed from the stock market where it is a tool used to determine what portion of a fund's value change is attributable to the fund manager. In marketing it means determining what percentage of a sale is caused/encouraged/whatever by each part of the marketing media mix, i.e. email, direct mail, catalog, website, various social platforms, coupons, et al.

The idea/technique is so new that if it were software it might be classed pre-alpha :)
Why Most Attribution Analysis Is Fatally Flawed by David Roth, Search Engine Land, 08-March-2010

But before any of us sprint into the world of attribution analysis and media mix modeling, let’s step back and take a long look in the mirror: I don’t know of a way to realistically pull any of this off if an advertiser doesn’t have a common tracking/analytics system for all marketing channels. So before we start hiring expensive analysts, consultants and statisticians, let’s be sure to clean our own houses and get our own data in order. Standardize your analytics and measurement on a single platform so you can compare “apples to apples.” Then you can start to focus on the fun stuff.

Besides significant technical considerations there is serious confusion between attribution and allocation - they are NOT synonymous.
Note: this subject/problem is not new, the following is 3-years old:
Marketing Attribution Models by Jim Novo, 28-August-2007.

I’m pretty sure “allocation” and “attribution” are really different concepts, though they seem to be used interchangeably right now. Let’s just say from reading the article allocation sounds more like a gut feel thing and attribution, from my experience, implies the use of a mathematical model of some kind.
...
Unfortunately, a lot of this kind of thing goes on in web analytics – instead of admitting something can’t be measured accurately, folks substitute a “model” which is worse than admitting the accuracy problem, because now you are saying you have a “measurement” when you don’t. People sit around with a web analytics report, and say, “Well, the visitor saw the PPC ad, then they did an organic search, then they saw a banner, so we will give 1/3 of the sales credit to each” or worse, “we will allocate the credit for sales based on what we spend on each exposure”.
...
I’d argue that given a choice, it’s more important to be precise than accurate – reproducibility is more important (especially to management) than getting the exact number right. Reproducibility is, after all, at the core of the scientific testing method, isn’t it? If you can’t repeat the test and get the same results, you don’t have a valid hypothesis.

And given the data stream web analytics folks are working with – among the dirtiest data around in terms of accuracy – then why would people spend so much time trying to build an “accurate” model? Better to be precise – always using first campaign or last campaign – than to create the illusion of accuracy with an allocation model that is largely made up from thin air.

Unfortunately the 'selling' of attribution analysis is well underway. And the snake oil is already deep and rancid and getting more so.

As to actually answering your question - 'how is it done' - that is largely unanswerable as except for a few academic papers most methodologies are proprietary - and unproven. In certain circumstances it can be well utilised in a limited scope, i.e. where you control site, email, newsletters, RSS, coupons, etc. with a common analysis methodology so that visitors can be tracked across direct interaction. Depending on setup this can extend to include certain social applications.

#5 earlpearl

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for referencing the topic. We operate smbs and my primary function is to see that customer interest turns into sales. I spend much of that time focusing on web marketing and its results.

Social media is an entirely different animal than is search. Measurement of its impact is similarly very different. The simplest metrics of impressions and fans/followers bear little weight against impressions via search...and/or unique visitors and returning visitors in search. They are as different as night and day.

With regard to our different SMB's the challenge is to see how and if we can make social media work for the smbs and what would be the cost and benefit. Its simply a challenge IMHO.

With a couple of different business types and a couple of different social media strategies and implementation for different businesses and some of the same businesses in different markets we are sorting our way through this to try and discover working models for the particular industries.

Some of the advanced language associated with social media takes me back to the "benefits" associated with radio and tv branding marketing campaigns, etc; marketing campaigns that are extraordinarily difficult to measure.

I'll go back and read the original articles in their entirety. Thanks for bringing up the topic.



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