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Social media – counting clicks or measuring marketing?

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd

Social media – counting clicks or measuring marketing?

Love it or loathe it, social media is no longer the new kid on the block. Because of its complexity, many business owners and marketers are still struggling to get to grips with measuring the return on investment. A recent collaborative study, #IPASocialWorks from The Marketing Society, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Practitioners has produced guidelines designed to improve the measurement of return on investment from social media. Don’t be put off by the research with big brands and larger businesses, the lessons learned are just as applicable to smaller organisations. The study concludes that there needs to be a cultural shift towards measurement that is not restricted to show what happened (clicks) but, more importantly, how, when and why it happened. As recently as 2014 the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) showed that 89% of advertisers were still counting ‘likes’ whilst just 23% looked to measure Return on Investment. The difficulty with measuring social activity is attributed to lack of overall control and the complex interaction between social and other media channels. So, let’s keep things as simple as possible.

  • “Begin with the end in mind”. Design measurement of activity during the planning stage, rather than wait until the end to measure results.
  • Make sure you define what the activity or campaign is designed to do and how this links with wider overall business organisation needs.
  • Consider the mix – can paid advertising contribute or can other media be used alongside social channels?
  • Define what decisions will be made during or at the end of the activity on the strength of the evaluation.
  • Use a mix of metrics to get a full picture
  • Audit – what was sent out, who was reached
  • Effect on customers – engagement, attitude changes, satisfaction scores, reputation of the business
  • Check you can distinguish between channels and combinations e.g. search and social, so you know which piece of activity or which combinations are most effective
  • Design the data evaluation process at the start

The aim is to learn and fully understand why something works, so that it can repeated or scaled up with predictable results. It’s always a good idea to pilot an activity so that lessons can be learned and the evaluation process can be checked to make sure it’s answering the important questions. The study demonstrates 5 proven approaches that organisations can use, which are

  • Market mix modelling
  • A/B testing
  • Brand tracking
  • Direct tracking of conversations

If you’re struggling with measuring the ROI on your social media or other marketing activity you can call us for a confidential chat on 0121 222 5743.

Happy marketing, Gill