Measuring social media success
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posted by prescientdigital @ 17:07 PM
September 27, 2010

Of the many impressive statistics I came across while researching a presentation delivered in Toronto today called “Measuring New Media Marketing Impact & ROI,” the one that stood out is how many people don’t measure their social media activities. It’s striking because while measuring ROI is challenging, failing to collect data will make it impossible to prove business value of any kind.

Mashable has reported 84% of social media programs do not measure ROI , and Marketing Profs, in a report that social media ROI is elusive

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, features a poll showing that 70% of marketers say that their companies do not adequately measure their social media initiatives.

The smell of success
The results of the hugely successful Old Spice campaign demonstrate the statistics available to social marketers:

• As of July 18th, the videos have attracted 94 million views on YouTube, making it the all time most viewed sponsored channel.

• In a demonstration that P&G and their agency get the need to participate in the conversation enabled by social media, they created 186 personalized responses to questions they solicited. These have received 34 million aggregate views, a billion PR impressions in a week, attracted 80,000 Twitter followers, a 630,000 Facebook fan base, increased fan interaction by 800%, increased Traffic to OldSpice.com by 300%.

While impressive, the numbers do not instantly translate into ROI, which is based on a simple formula derived from knowing the cost and benefit of a marketing activity.

Writing in AdAge.com

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, Jack Neff notes that for the four weeks ended June 13, possibly the best month ever for P&G body wash, Old Spice’s sales were up 106% from the prior-year period, jumping 4.8 share points in a category that grew 17.7%.

During this period, however, P&G also did a national drop-off of high value coupons, which also increased Gillett body wash sales by 277% (another P&G brand). “How much of Old Spice’s recent gains… come from [the] ads and how much from the coupons?” asks Neff. “’It’s impossible to know,’” said P&G spokesman Mike Norton.”

You can’t miss what you don’t measure
Because Prescient is a long-time advocate of measuring web success

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, we understand how difficult it can be to develop ROI for web initiatives, and social media programs are no exception. While numbers to support a compelling ROI may be difficult to compile, however, the sample list of possible metrics for social media success demonstrate that there are numerous options for measuring initiatives.

Cost savings
• Issue resolution time
• Percentage of issues resolved online
• Account turnover
• Employee turnover
• Hiring/recruiting
• Training costs
• New product ideas
• Development cycle time
• Product/service adoption rate

Revenue & Business Development
• Speed of sales cycle
• Number/% of repeat business
• % customer retention
• Transaction value
• Referrals
• Net new leads
• Cost per lead
• Conversions from community

Activity & Engagement
• Members
• Posts/threads
• Comments or ideas
• Inbound links
• Tags, votes, bookmarks
• Active profiles
• Referrals
• Post frequency/density

Awareness & Value
• Brand loyalty/affinity
• Media placements
• Share of conversation
• Sentiment of posts
• Net Promoter Score
• Interaction with content

Not only are there a wide range of measurable benefits, there is a proliferating range of tools for measuring them. Bill Hartzer, for example, provides a useful guide to 11 social media monitoring tools

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.

While campaigns like Old Spice are attracting a lot of buzz, they are also proving value. Not everyone can hope to achieve the same impressive numbers, but anyone running a social media campaign should have some sense of the desired outcome, and an idea for the numbers that will prove the value of their efforts.

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