Social Media

Measuring Social Media Marketing: It’s Easier than you Think!

We all remember from Marketing 101, that the ability to measure the effectiveness of marketing activities and calculating ROI is imperative to a company’s go-to-market strategy. While it is quite easy to measure ROI with most traditional marketing channels like print, radio and even search marketing; it’s much more difficult to measure ROI from social media marketing. In fact, just a few months ago; Comscore announced a research and development initiative that is designed to provide comprehensive measurement of conversational media such as blogs, wikis and community-driven social media sites.

Unfortunately, we all know that Comscore studies can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete; and most marketers probably don’t have that time to wait. So, here are a few things you can do today to measure the effectiveness of social media.

Standard ‘Engagement’ Metrics

In most cases, if you are leveraging social media, you are driving traffic back to your web site. Here are some general ‘engagement’ metrics that you can monitor once visitors arrive:

  • Unique visitors
  • Page views per visitor
  • Time spent on site
  • Total time spent per user
  • Frequency of visits
  • Depth of visit
  • Conversions

You can track most of these metrics from web analytics tools like Omniture or even Google Analytics which is a free tool.

And then of course, if you have a paid search marketing campaign, you will want to monitor the standard search metrics (clicks, impressions, click through rate, conversion rates, revenue, etc.) I would also recommend SEM Director as an additional tool, if you can afford it. It basically allows you to assign values to particular actions on the web site once visitors arrive from search – both paid and organic traffic (i.e. number of page views, form submission, clicking on a particular link, an internal search, etc.)

Social Media Metrics

There are several other elements that you can look at when measuring the success (or lack thereof) of your social media marketing efforts; and of course it depends entirely on what your overall marketing goals are. Is it to push sales, drive engagement, increase awareness? Whatever your success metrics are and in addition to the above ‘engagement’ metrics; here are some others to consider as well:

  • Content Consumption – if you have a blog – which you should, a good way to measure engagement is to monitor who is reading your blog, where they are coming from and what content they are reading. You can run web analytic reports that will show you the most popular content on your site and/or blog. This data will also show you how long they were on that particular page, where they came from, and also the bounce rate (percent of visitors who left your site after visiting a particular page).
  • Content Contribution – assuming you have a blog/wiki and allow for comments; a quick and easy metric would be to monitor the number of visitors who are actually interacting with your content.
  • Social Bookmarking – In other words, who is actually adding your site/article/blog posts to sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. There are a couple of methods you can leverage to look at this metric. You can use your web analytic tool and run a click map report and see how many web visitors are clicking on the social bookmarking icons. Or, you can simply create profiles in each of the bookmarking sites and search for your urls.
  • Subscribing to a RSS feed – you can also measure how many of your readers are actually subscribing to your RSS feeds.
  • Emailing posts – assuming you allow for your blog postings to be emailed to others, you can use your blog platform tool like (WordPress offers this functionality) to see how many emails are actually being sent through your form.
  • Who is talking about you – there are a couple of different ways you can do this; and it’s not an exact science. Again, with WordPress, they have the functionality that allows you to see which other site(s) are linking to your site. It’s located right in the dashboard so once you log in, you can see it right away. You can also go to blog search engine Technorati and search your domain. Lastly, you can always use the old SEO trick by searching for your domain in Google, Yahoo and MSN with the following: link:http://www.yourwebsite.com. These numbers will never match up of course; but it serves as a good indicator to see who is talking about you (or at least linking to you and your content).
  • Profile Engagement: So, you may not have a blog but perhaps you have a profile on Myspace, Facebook, or Mybloglog. You can always apply the same metrics already mentioned above; as well as monitor the number of friends that you have, total profile visits, etc. Each social networking site offers some type of vitality metric to see what’s going on in your communities.

One thing to consider before you engage with social media is to assign monetary values to your metrics, especially if your end goal is not revenue conversions. This is where the task becomes a tad bit challenging but it’s key if you want to assign an ROI to your social media marketing efforts.

Michael Brito is a Senior Marketing Manager at Yahoo! and also authors Britopian, an online marketing blog, where he writes frequently about SEO, Social Media and Integrated Marketing Strategies.

 Measuring Social Media Marketing: Its Easier than you Think!
Michael Brito is a Senior Vice President of Social Business Strategy at Edelman Digital. He is responsible for helping clients operationalize their content strategy and community management practices. You can find him writing in his social business blog or on Twitter

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6 thoughts on “Measuring Social Media Marketing: It’s Easier than you Think!

  1. I really like your post here. I hope you don’t mind I reposted it on inSocialMedia.com

    Here are some of my thoughts.

    You can measure a social media campaign only after you determine the objective for the social media campaign. Influence and interaction and results are the ways in which a social media campaign can be measured. Each has quantitative and qualitative elements. Below are my initial thoughts on this subject. Please bear in mind that there are probably more to add to each category. (Help, advice, and collaboration is appreciated)

    INFLUENCE
    Quantitative – 1. the number of people in the network 2. the number of networks/social communities/platforms 3. the growth rate of your network

    Qualitative – 1. who is in the network? 2. what is the motivation for people joining the network? 3. what ideas are discussed in the networks

    INTERACTION
    Quantitative – 1. the number of communication methods within a platform 2. the number of scheduled tasks(eg. messages, replies, comments, bulletins, blogs, etc)

    Qualitative – 1. the types of communication being sent out 2. who are you targeting with a particular message?

    RESULTS
    Quantitative – 1. number of leads generated 2. number of sales generated 3. number of new contacts made 4. revenue generated

    Qualitative – 1. types of leads generated 2. types of contacts made

    Also, I welcome your participation in the community too if you are interested.

    Respectfully,

    Nelson Bruton

  2. Hi Nelson,

    Well written but my question to you is, how would u measure these:

    RESULTS
    Quantitative – 1. number of leads generated 2. number of sales generated 3. number of new contacts made 4. revenue generated

    Qualitative – 1. types of leads generated 2. types of contacts made

    Isn’t it difficult or rather impossible to measure this? cause the conversion may me anytime..not necessarily on the spot or even online.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks this useful information. I have some query..In the information provided above, you mentioned:
    “In other words, who is actually adding your site/article/blog posts to sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. There are a couple of methods you can leverage to look at this metric. You can use your web analytic tool and run a click map report and see how many web visitors are clicking on the social bookmarking icons.”

    Can I know how can we track the clicks on icon through web analytics? I tried to find out the click map report but could not locate it..

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  5. Thanks for the great post and I would like to share my experience.

    To see the results of our social media activity, we need to know the value of the resulting conversations and relationships qualitatively. For me, I used these free tools to track almost anything I want: Google Alerts, Pipes, Keotag and Compete's Search Analytics.

    Free tools are good but you need to manage online reputation and keep everything
    yourself whereas paid services help to facilitate the analyzing and understanding of conversations around your brand.

  6. Thanks for the great post and I would like to share my experience.

    To see the results of our social media activity, we need to know the value of the resulting conversations and relationships qualitatively. For me, I used these free tools to track almost anything I want: Google Alerts, Pipes, Keotag and Compete's Search Analytics.

    Free tools are good but you need to manage online reputation and keep everything
    yourself whereas paid services help to facilitate the analyzing and understanding of conversations around your brand.