Six Questions for 100 Metrics

What can the scores of social media metrics available really tell you about the success of your marketing programs? It's fitting to start the exploration with a question, since we'll focus on six of them now: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.

Last week, we looked at 100 ways to measure social media, a master list that's meant to give marketers an idea of all of the metrics they can consider. As many commenters observed, a given marketer may not even need 90% of the list. What matters are the metrics that any marketer is held accountable for, such as sales or customer satisfaction. Just as important in this context are the relevant metrics that either act as proxies for measuring a marketer's core objectives, or that can give marketers a deeper understanding of how effective their efforts are.

A master list of 100 metrics is rather daunting. One way to make it more manageable is to look at which metrics answer which of the six questions posed above. I have to give credit here to my colleagues at my agency 360i, who heavily shaped my thinking around applying these questions. To be fair to them though, they haven't vetted this breakout, so any errors in judgment here are mine alone.

Below is a sampling of how the 100 metrics help answer the six questions. The complete list is available on my blog, and also accessible via the shortened URL bit.ly/whowhat.

WHO – Who interacted? What do you know about these consumers?

·       Fans, followers, friends

·       Demographics of audience reached through social media

·       Social media habits/interests of target audience

·       Customers assisted

·       Attendance generated at in-person events

WHAT – What was discussed? What was shared? What did consumers engage with?

·       Volume of consumer-created buzz for a brand based on number of posts or impressions

·       Buzz by stage in purchase funnel (e.g., researching vs. completing transaction vs. post-purchase)

·       Rate of virality, embedding, or downloading

·       Clicks, view-throughs, interactions

·       Leads generated or products sampled

WHERE – Where were the conversations happening, whether in terms of the social channels or the geography of the consumers reached?

·       Buzz by social channel (forums, social networks, blogs, Twitter, etc)

·       Influence of publishers reached (e.g., blogs)

·       Geography of participating consumers

·       Registrations from third-party social logins (e.g., Facebook Connect, Twitter OAuth)

·       Registrations by channel (e.g., Web, desktop application, mobile application, SMS, etc)

WHEN – When did the results happen? When did other promotions run that could have had an impact on a social marketing program?

·       Shift in buzz over time

·       Buzz by time of day / daypart

·       Seasonality of buzz

·       Change in virality rates over time

·       Impact of offline marketing/events on social marketing programs or buzz

WHY – Why were consumers engaging or feeling this way?

·       Sentiment by volume of posts or impressions

·       Shift in sentiment before, during, and after social marketing programs

·       Increase in searches due to social activity

·       Attributes of tags (e.g., how well they match the brand's perception of itself)

·       Customer satisfaction

HOW – How much of an impact did the social marketing have? How do results hold up against benchmarks? How do they translate to brand metrics? How does this add to the bottom line?

·       Brand association, purchase consideration

·       Savings per customer assisted through direct social media interactions compared to other channels (e.g., call centers, in-store)

·       Suggestions implemented from social feedback

·       Impact on online or offline sales, or on other offline behavior

·       Conversion change due to user ratings, reviews

Again, this is meant to be a start — just one lens for viewing the possibilities of social media measurement. Some metrics can also answer multiple questions. More important is the process of asking the questions, and then figuring out the best possible way to answer them through the ever-expanding possibilities that social media offers.

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