In a series of features, we’ll be looking at the industry’s responses to the questions we posed, to determine the challenges and trends facing analytics in 2012.
Today’s question surrounds social media measurement. What problems arise for web analytics systems when measuring social media? How can businesses accurately measure social media impressions of their brand?
Seth Richardson, CEO, DC Storm
Web analytics is unable to monitor user generated content on social media platforms. Specific tools are available to measure this, so the problem becomes one of integration with web analytics.
Website visits driven by social media marketing often feature early in the path to conversion. Google Analytics uses a flavour of the ‘last click wins’ attribution model, which means that social media is rarely credited with any conversions. In order to accurately reflect the value of all channels such as social media, marketers need to understand the attributes of paths to conversion and to implement an attribution model that reflects them.
Matt Bullas, managing director, Click Consult
The ultimate problem we are faced when reviewing social media through analytics is based around conversions. Trying to convince a business that social media would be a good marketing outlet for them is hard. Social can drive traffic and you can report on conversions from referrals, but analytics doesn’t assist with ultimately knowing how effective your social presence is on the user. Since quite a lot of social analytics is in its early stages the challenge over the next year is improving analytics to help us build effective social pages. At present we have to use conventional methods to decide whether someone enjoys the page or not, but the user is in a different mind-set when using a social site and turning their heads to lead into an actual sale can be tricky. Likes and Followers etc are a good way of reviewing how effective your social presence is, but ultimately not all of the fan club leads to sales.
Social may take time for certain businesses/markets to become the beast that PPC is for conversions, but with most businesses the eventual goal is a sale and right now most business owners see SEO and PPC as stronger marketing channels, they can be reviewed easier and you can easily analyse data and use this to change your site and campaigns. These two types of online marketing ultimately allow you to patch into your potential customers a lot easier, keyword searches are prime for eventual conversions as the majority of the time people are searching because they want to buy. Social is different and has a longer conversion path, therefore business owners are a little more hesitant to invest. But web analytics doesn’t really help to show this path or provide data to help us analyse this path. People are getting better at coming up with creative ideas to lure people into the fan club, but work on web analytics to help us then create a conversion from this is needed. As people understand how to build the following I think the next step with web analytics help is to turn this following into conversions.
At Click Consult we use in house advanced software which effectively monitors the main social media platforms. It picks up impressions that relate to a specific brand and can also be useful for generating leads. The software identifies brand mentions and manually these can be reviewed to decipherer which are related and are due feedback. Both positive and negative discussions are often taking place without brands being aware, this tool allows us to identify these discussions and participate on behalf of the client.
At the same time our in house software can be used to identify opportunities within the social networks. For example someone actively looking for thermal wear (see printscreen below) can be tweeted back suggesting a certain site and product. Not only does the user not expect this but the customer interaction is superb and is a great way of connecting with your market before the browsing begins.
Mike Quinn, product marketing manager, Adobe
Up until now web analytics has not allowed marketers to measure the business impact of social ROI. To analyse social media activity, marketers had to merge data from disparate tools using slow and manual processes that ultimately delivered little insight.
Adobe Social, part of Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite, is a solution to this problem. It allows marketers to manage, measure and optimise their social media strategies and campaigns and most importantly, links the results back to business impact. For example, it’s able to drill down into the actual conversation in terms of tweets, comments and blogs, so marketers are able to see who is driving discussion and influencing others, correlating their impact with key business metrics such as revenue and brand value. It’s also able to directly measure the interactions businesses have with their customers in social media, meaning marketers can manage their strategy based on measurable outcomes to optimise their social campaigns all within the same tool.
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