Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE Comprehensive Guide to Social Media Measurement

Finally! An actionable guide to measuring the effectiveness of social media!
*This is Part 5 of a 5 Part series on actionable ways to successfully use social media for business.


Note: This is a beefy article. It's meant to be a comprehensive guide for anyone that uses social media and does not yet measure it. The best way to digest it all is by trying each suggestion while you read along. Bookmark this page and come back to it as you learn. I have a nice spreadsheet to make this a lot easier too... comment if you're interested.
I couldn't have created this post without the critical help of popular web analytics experts Stephane Hamel and Gary Angel .

First, What You'll Need...

1. A Web Analytics tool, like Google Analytics

2. To know how to create advanced segments in Google Analytics to find a lot of the numbers.

3. To set up your Google Analytics to track both traffic AND conversions from social media sites.

4. Familiarity of Google Analytics' Social Reports. Over the next few weeks, Google will release Social Reports to help figure out the value of your social marketing. Here's what they will include:
  • Overview Report: how much money comes from social channels
  • A comparison of social conversions to total conversions
  • Both last-interaction and assisted conversions
  • Whether goal conversions peaked after a video/post was published.
  • Which articles on your site get the most interactions

Ready to begin?
Ah, Social Media. Still fresh, interactive, and elusive. Or is it? If you think that social media cannot be measured, you are missing out on some great data and even extra revenue.

Social media largely depends on a quick response time. Because of this, your data needs to reflect short term, quick response goals. Even more critical, though, is the long-term, trending data to make actionable business decisions.

(This article is broken up into 2 sections of measurements: (1) By Objectives to business goals and (2) by quick/longterm measurements by Social Media site.)

Now for the Real Stuff
Remember in my Social Media for eCommerce Businesses post when I told you there are five general things that Social Media can be used for in a business setting? If not, here they are:
  1. Customer retention
  2. Brand advocacy
  3. Customer/tech support
  4. Top-of-funnel” activities-- This includes branding, product discovery, and awareness
  5. Learning more about your customers

Depending on what's important to your business, these can be starting points for creating your social media measurement goals. You are most likely interested in increasing sales, right? Well, instead of throwing money at all or nothing, these 5 objectives can be vehicles to bring you to your ultimate goal and keep you focused on your return on investment (ROI).

Measurements by Objectives
1. Customer Retention (one of the most important metrics)
If a large percentage of your customers purchase only once, never to be seen again, social media can help! But how do you measure whether your efforts are actually working?

First, you can check Google's new Social Reports (rolling out soon) to see how many initial sales and visitors come from a social media site. Then, you'll want to track repeat customers:
  1. Log into Google Analytics and create an Advanced Segment that Includes “Transactions” Greater than 1.
  2. After you save it, you can look at those users' sources (Facebook, Google+, etc). Remember, these are only the repeat customers that have not deleted their cookies and have repurchased on only one single device.
  3. You can also create an Advanced Segment for customers coming from each social media site and then view their behavior.

Once you've identified your repeat customers from a social source, you want to learn how to get more of those types of customers!

Engagement: Marketing studies have shown the relationship between engagement and customer retention since about 2006. The connection is obvious: People that engage with a brand after a purchase (usually) are happy with the purchase, and will remember the brand because of the interaction.

Engagement Formula:
Engagement=interactions/total views.

Long Term Trending for Customer Retention:
  1. Find which types of posts create the most engagement! Break down all of your posts for a particular social media site into groups. These groups can be based on your customer segments, the types of Facebook users (bottom of the post), videos, jokes, quotes, or anything else. Make sure to post more of the ones that received the most engagement!
  2. Figure out the behavior of repeat customers: Create an advanced segment in Google Analytics for the number of purchases greater than 1, and see if particular sources are increasing in repeat business.

2. Brand Advocacy
Advocacy itself is difficult to measure, but finding how many people are recommending your brand, and measuring if that number goes up or down over time, can be helpful if you have an advocacy campaign.
  1. Twitter has many third party search tools, and an internal one too, where you can measure brand mentions and recommendations.
  2. Another way to go about measuring brand mentions is through the many online Sentiment Tools. Keep in mind that these tools are not 100% accurate because they cannot detect sarcasm and other inflections.
  3. The long (and more accurate) way: Measure your brand's positive mentions by conducting a “site:domain” search: You can utilize Google's powerful search engine to search within a website for any word you want to measure. Go to and type in [ “your brand name” ~great] without the brackets, and replacing “your brand name” with your actual brand name! You are essentially asking Google to search only in for your brand alongside synonyms of “great”. You can change to any other social media site, and the ~great to any other positive or negative word you want to measure. The word next to your brand name that represents the positive mention (like ~great) will depend on your brand and industry. It could be ~recommend, ~check out, etc.

3. Customer Support
Product Testing- Social Media sites can be used as a very large focus group. Don't be afraid to ask your customers what they think of a new product, or one that you aren't sure you're going to create yet. This can save a considerable amount of time and money as opposed to more traditional methods. To measure this will depend on your business type. You may want to measure the amount of product innovation ideas, enhancements to business processes, or any other number of things.

Monitoring- Monitor your brand and competitors' brands for customer pain points that you can potentially solve with products or services. This information can be used for product/process innovation and creation. A free tool to get you started is called SocialMention. You can also monitor who is talking about your brand, what they're saying, and how much your branding efforts are paying off.

4. Awareness, Discovery, and Branding
i. Measure your brand's positive mentions by conducting a site:domain search (described above). Is it trending upward or downward?

ii. Reach is a potential measure of exposures to your brand name.
Reach= total people participating/ Total audience exposure

iii. Branding:
Other than getting your hands dirty by surveying your target demographic, here are some branding activities that you can measure on social media:
  • Sentiment by volume of posts = Positive mentions/total mentions of your brand. Make sure you are measuring non-professional posts, so that you are getting an idea of only your consumer sentiment.
  • Share of voice = brand mentions/total mentions of all brands (monitor this over time to measure branding efforts)
  • Number of positive reviews
  • Number of mentions of your brand's value proposition (the thing that sets you apart from everyone else)

Long term measures for Branding: To me, branding is the most important thing a company can do. When a customer is ready to purchase a product that you sell and your brand comes to mind first, it can reduce the customer's buying process, and can even lead to a higher customer lifetime value. The ROI from the money that you invest into branding can be determined by your overall brand equity. Apple's brand is worth much more than their physical assets. The difference is the equity of their branding efforts (Brand equity =Value of company-Total assets).

5. Learning more about your customers
Ask them questions! You can measure the quantity or quality of data that you receive. Some of it may be invaluable. For example, you may find that your Facebook customers all enjoy hanging out in one place or that you have three completely different customer segments that you thought were all grouped into one.

Measurements by Social Media Site
Quick Response Measurements:
  • +1s of content: Log in to Google Webmaster Tools, click on +1 Metrics and look at the reports for Audience, Search Impact, and Activity.
  • Logged in users that visit your site: Set this up by reading this article.
  • Traffic to your website from specific posts: Log in to Google Analytics, view the sources and find the URL from your post.
  • Engagement=interactions/total views. You'll need to create an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics that looks like this.    
  • Engagement: interactions divided by total views. This can be easily found in Facebook Insights
  • Value of a Like (below)
  • Reach: Facebook Insights
  • Fan Count: Facebook page
  • Visitors that go to your site while logged into Facebook:Set this up by reading this article.
  • Traffic to your website from specific posts: Google Analytics Traffic Sources, search for the post URL
  • Follower Count
  • Conversation tracking: Twitter's internal search engine
  • Brand mentions: Twitter's internal search engine
  • Retweets in numbers and by type
  • Reply count
  • Traffic to website from specific posts
  • Repins from your original pins.
  • Pins from your website by other users: use Pinterest's internal search engine
  • Website traffic from Pinterest
  • Traffic to website from specific posts

Trending Measurements:
  • Website traffic from each Social Media site (Create Advanced segments in Google Analytics)
  • Traffic to website from all posts from each social media site (add your numbers from specific posts)
  • Conversion rate of users from each Social Media site (Advanced Segments in Google Analytics)
  • User demographics: Facebook insights, Advanced segments in Google Analytics and viewing demographics from Social media
  • Brand mentions from each social media site: Search for your brand name in each site. Twitter and Google+ have many ways to do this. For the sites that don't have good internal search (like Facebook), use Google's [ “brand name”] feature. Just type everything within the brackets into a Google search, and replace “” with the social media site, and replace “brand name” with your brand name! For example, type [ Coca-cola] into Google (without the brackets) to see all the mentions of Coca-cola on Facebook!
  • Brand equity = Value of your company-total assets


Quick response Value of a Like from Facebook Ads
Value of a Like for a specified time period= [(conversion rate X amount of referrals from Facebook after ad for time period) X (Avg ticket price) / Total amount of Likes obtained from a campaign]-acquisition cost and any other expenses you deem necessary.

Example: If you get 300 Likes from a Facebook ad and 200 of those people go to your website, and 1.6% of them will convert. So 3.2 (or 4.16) of them will buy. If the average ticket price is $50, you just made $160 (or $208). $160/300 fans from an ad= $0.53 per Like.

Compare this to the acquisition cost of each Like (in Facebook's Ad Insights):
Your ad spend for the time period was $95 and you obtained 300 Likes, so $95/300 likes = .32 cents. .53-.32= $0.21 cents per Like.

Note: This is the INITIAL value of Likes obtained from an ad campaign. Keep in mind that as you continue to interact, and after you stop advertising on Facebook, the value of each Like, and the lifetime value of each customer, will continue to increase exponentially compared to the continual decrease of Fan acquisition.
2nd Note: there is also long-term Branding value to the impressions from the ad that we are also ot taking into account.

If you made it this far, congratulations! I hope this helped you. Commit to viewing this data once a week, month, or quarter, and enter it into a spreadsheet, while simultaneously viewing the data from the following time period.


    Joshua Franklin said...

    Another update: Google must index your content in order to share it on Google+, so to make sure your content gets indexed... share it on Google+. There is no better way to make sure Google indexes it.

    Paige Newton said...

    These are the things everyone must consider in order to maintain a good and smooth run of a good going online business, including the storage distribution if needed.

    Jeannine Siems said...

    Familiarizing ourself to Google Analytics’ Social Reports can help us fully optimise the social media that we are using. I am not yet ready to begin because I will carefully practice the steps so that I can prevent mistakes from happening.

    Jeannine Siems