Getting Beyond the ‘Black Box’ of Social Media Measurement
When people talk about measuring their social media efforts there is often the lament of ‘but what does engagement mean?’ and ‘how did this tie to purchase’? They feel that there is no point to counting their video views or their engagements, until they are clear on the valueof these activities. All of this upfront fretting is wiring your organization for too much pain, and making it impossible to get off the starter block.
Understanding the ultimate business value is critical for sure – but it can’t be the blocker to setting up your measurement basics. It speaks to ‘how good’ what you’re doing is. But you need to first have turnkey ways for counting ‘how many’.
How Many, How Good?
This is not an original thought of mine – I stole it from Josh Chasin, Chief Research Officer of comScore, who told me years ago that broadly speaking, all measurement can be split into ‘how many’ things happened (how many impressions, unique visitors, video views, viewing minutes), and then ‘how good’ those things that happened were for the campaign KPIs and ultimately for the business. Smushing the two together is overwhelming, making measurement impossibly complex – and simply too tempting to ignore altogether.
Here’s how this breaks out for social media:
So if you’re designing your weekly or monthly dashboards, focus in on ‘How Many’. Maybe, you can pop in a few pieces about content efficiency, because that will shed light on the quality of what you’re putting out there. But keep it simple – one to two ratios, with competitive benchmarks, no more.
Save the fierce debates about whether shares are worth more than comments, or randomly assigning shares ‘four points’ and reactions ‘two points’ when counting your engagement until the basics are squared away and widely understood in your organization. This kind of practice keeps social media measurement in the proverbial black box, which is precisely where it needs to not be, in order to firmly stake its place alongside your web metrics, TV measurement, and sales data that your organization relies on.