Saturday, December 13, 2008

Measuring Social Media Marketing

In doing some research for this blog, I came across a great little article, written over a year ago by Michael Brito, Senior Marketing Manager, Yahoo! for the Search Engine Journal.

It's worth a read.

Brito suggests that measuring the effectiveness of social media isn't all that complicated. If you're using social media to drive traffic to your website, then you can use traditional web marketing measurement metrics (say that three times fast) such as "unique visitors", "time on site", etc.

In terms of measuring social media "at the source", so to speak, the metrics are quite similar and essentially boil down to how many interactions are had between target audience and interface.

At the end of the article, Brito points to the idea that these metrics still have to be related back to revenue, but doesn't give any suggestions as to how this might be done. I see this as key - afterall, if we don't know how much money ouractivities are bringing in, then is there a point to participating in the whole social media sphere at all? Looks like I'll be doing some more research on this topic.


  1. As a total non-expert here (or rather, as much of an expert as research and community involvement can allow), I find the linked article interesting, if a little bit incomplete. I certainly agree that you can use your standard web metrics as a way to examine social media successes (although less so if you're using other methods to reach your target audience as well), and the content consumption one is interesting to look at as well, but I feel the article falls short of its stated purpose. Namely, the article purports to give direction as to how to measure your ROI on your social media workings, and then doesn't really take a look at the monetization or costing with social media, instead focusing on what metrics you could be examining.

    Basically, I agree with your last paragraph - his article is effectively useless without those sorts of measurements. Any thoughts as to how you can do that? With most of these metrics, your direct results will be lost in the mix, I feel...


  2. Hi Dan,

    Great comment.

    I've never been asked to assign a specific dollar value to social media marketing activities, but I haven't done enough in this area to really merit a very close examination. I've always struggled with how to determine the monetary value of metrics like "unique visitors", etc. except where I can trace that these visitors actually convert to a lead by signing up for a newsletter or a free trial, and therefore "feed the pipeline" so to speak.

    I guess the one way to even attempt to monetize is to look at your sales process and figure out where into your sales cycle new media feeds leads. At the same time, this doesn't even begin to address the impact of the brand support that new media has to offer. I'm not about to pretend I have any strong metrics to use to measure the impact of brand support. Again, I think this requires more research.

    One of my challenges has always been that the sales teams I have worked with, and marketing teams I have directed, even boards and managing directors have all agreed that it's important to leverage social media, or alternative media, more generally. But at the end of the day, they don't even truly know what results they expect or what results are needed for these efforts to be worth the time spent to make any real impact.

    I am hoping that Michael Brito will comment on this as well, and shed some light on the subject.

    Stay tuned!


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