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Social Media Analytics

Friday, December 16, 2011
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Social Media Analytics are key towards achieving top social media marketing goals!

What does Social Media Analytics mean?

The process of collecting data and transforming into meaningful information that can evaluate the success of marketing tactics is referred to as Social Media Analytics.

Social media analytics enables data-driven, fact-based, decision support for social media marketers who could ordinarily only rely on past experience or rules of thumb.  Social media analytics includes the use of evaluating the direction and speed of trend lines, comparing results to goals and benchmarks, and interpreting meaningful metrics in context to marketing goals.  It’s important to emphasize that metrics need to be evaluated in context to goals.

What are Social Media Marketing Goals?

Common social marketing goals include the following:

  1. Increase Brand Awareness – results in inbound leads, brand equity, and future customers.
  2. Gain Quality Traffic  - results in sales transactions, loyal customers, and new leads.
  3. Increase Effective Reach – results in a broader addressable audience.

Increase Brand Awareness

Also known as “creating buzz” or “getting the word out.”  Creating awareness makes your brand known to people who may ultimately become a customer. A main objective of using social media networks is increase brand awareness.  Once people know about your brand, they can contact you (inbound lead) or visit any of your web properties that include: fan page, blog, website, twitter page, youtube channel and other web properties that you might have setup.  Awareness can also build brand equity which basically means that as people recognize a brand more and more, and if they think highly of the brand, the brand builds favor in someone’s mind. Then when the time comes, a person making a purchase decision will have your brand in mind.  Increasing brand awareness means keeping your brand ‘top of mind.’

Gain Quality Traffic

Driving traffic to your web properties is a top-line goal because traffic drives conversions.  That’s right, without traffic, there are no online conversions.  Conversions are important in order to make social media marketing pay for itself, so the traffic that you generate will, hopefully, be traffic that is interested in your brand’s products and services. Simple metrics like bounce rate, time on site, page views per visit and give high-level clues about the quality of traffic generated; for example, if you bounce rate is 95% it means people see your message, go to the site, and immediately see it is not what they expected to see or they see something they don’t like.  You can drive poor quality traffic to your site all day long, but with a bounce rate of 95%, there will likely not be any conversions.  You can use social media analytics to evaluate the performance of your messages and your landing pages, and to see if you are reaching the right target audience.

Sources of traffic can be from the “Big 3” (Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter), but LinkedIn and social bookmarking sites like DeliciousDigg, and StumbleUpon have become important sources of website traffic.   As you use these social networks to build your audience, your effective reach will grow.

Increasing Effective Reach

Social media analytics can help you grow your effective reach.  Effective reach is, in simple terms, how many people have received your branding message enough times to stick with them. For example, if they hear the message once and never again, that may not ‘stick’, on the contrary, if they see your branding message daily or weekly for an extended period of time, then this will likely be effective in terms of keeping your brand ‘top of mind.’

So to recap, effective reach has two components, 1) the number of times a message is seen (x impressions), and 2) the number of unique people that see the message x times.  Now, x (the number of times a message is required to be seen before it’s deemed effective, is determined by the marketing strategist in your organization and it varies from company to company.

As it relates to social media marketing, and social media analytics, effective reach is increased by growing the size of your network because the size of your network determines your potential net reach on social media. So, you guessed it, growing your net reach on social media depends on growing the quantity and quality of your Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, Youtube Subscribers, Website visitors, Social Bookmarking Site users and the like. As this network grows, so do the probabilities of increasing your effective reach.

What are the most useful Social Media Metrics?

Here is a list of the most widely used, and commonly used metrics in context to websites, blogs, social media networks and social bookmarking usage.  With the three aforementioned goals in mind:

  1. Pageviews – the number of times a web page is served which provides a top-level measure of the websites popularity.
  2. Pages-per-Visit - the average number of web site pages served to unique visitors of a web site.  This measure will can vary from 1 – 20+ pages per visit depending on the purpose of the website.  Thus, to determine whether performance is poor, good or great, several factors need to be considered including; 1) type of site and the benchmark for such sites, 2)desired sequence of page visits needed to meet a goal.
  3. Visitors – the number of unique web site viewers.
  4. Visits – the number of website visits (as opposed to visitors). This metric helps determine the level of repeat viewing by visitors and can thus help determine customer loyalty.  For example, 1 visitor (unique person) can visit a website 20 times during a given period, thus the visitors = 1 while visits = 20.
  5. Twitter Clicks – the number of people that click on a link distributed via twitter.
  6. Twitter Followers – the number of twitter profiles that have agreed to communicate with your twitter account.  A measure of how many people would receive a message sent via twitter, but not necessarily the number of people that will see the message.
  7. Twitter Mentions - the number of times twitter users talk about your brand using the @ tag.  A measure of how many people are talking about your brand.
  8. Twitter Retweets – the number of times a twitter user rebroadcasts your twitter message to their own twitter followers.  Retweets are a prized event because they extend can extend a message’s reach dramatically.  For example, if you send a tweet to your hypothetical 250 followers, and one of those followers retweets that message to their 4.2 million followers then you have extended your reach dramatically.  This implies that reach is not purely based on 1st degree followers, but on followers of followers (2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree followers).
  9. Facebook Comments – the number of times people comment about your brand on Facebook.  This metric helps determine the whether people are talking about your brand.
  10. Facebook Engaged Users –  the number of unique people who have clicked anywhere on your post. Engagement includes: video plays, photo views, link clicks, other clicks and “stories generated” (see stories generated definition below).
  11. Facebook Fans – the number of people who have “liked” a fan page and thus have opted-in to receiving a brand’s advertising messages.  It’s easy to see how the number of fans is a component of overall reach.  Remember that fans have friends, and friends can see when a another friend ‘fans’ a brand, thus creating further visibility for the brand that was “liked” – all this means that each fan brings a 2nd, 3rd and 4th order of potential reach with them.
  12. Facebook Friends of Fans –  the number of unique people who are friends with your fans, including your current fans.
  13. Facebook Likes – the number of people that “like” a comment, video, or other piece of content on a fan page.
  14. Facebook “Peope Talking About This” – a metric provided by Facebook Insight’s and is the number of unique people who have “created a story” about your fan page in the time period.
  15. Facebook Total Reach – the number of unique people who have seen any content associated with your fan page (including any Ads or “Sponsored Stories” pointing to your fan page) in the time period.
  16. Facebook Stories Generated – stories include: liking, commenting on or sharing a post, answering a question or RSVP’ing to an event.
  17. Facebook Virality – the number of unique people who have created a story from your fan page post as a percentage of the number of unique people who’ve seen it.
  18. Facebook Wall Posts – this metric counts the number of posts placed on a fan page wall and thus measures the frequency of content activity on a fan page wall.
  19. Social Media Amplification Rate – a metric that considers how often people re-share messages.  When people retweet your Twitter messages and share your content on Facebook, this activity increases the amplification rate.  Amplification rate quantifies how often a message will reach beyond 1st order reach.
  20. Social Media Conversation Rate – the rate at which people reply to your posts on Social Media Channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube.  This metric helps measure how engaging are an authors comments.

Conclusion

Social media analytics helps marketers achieve their goals by giving them perspective on the performance of their marketing tactics in quantitative terms.  Trends and metrics paint a clear picture of effectiveness relative to common social media marketing goals.

About the Author:

Emilio 40x40 Social Media AnalyticsEmilio Basaldua is business intelligence and marketing analytics professional located in the Dallas, Texas area.  His experience includes applied business intelligence used to drive financial performance, building & leading business intelligence competency centers (BICCs) and performing all aspects of end-to-end dashboard development. Emilio is the founder and developer of  Unilyzer® .

UNI 728by90 Social Media Analytics



One Response to “Social Media Analytics”

  1. Excellent point here about analytics in social media. You have no idea of your progress or set backs without accurate data. It’s almost like flying blind. I was a victim of this in the beginning and I had no idea how much time I was wasting in non effective marketing techniques because I didn’t have the data to tell me so.

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