2013 – The Year Social Media Will Be Measured Correctly

Social MetricsIn 2012, just about every marketer got on board recognizing the need for social marketing. More and more brands included social implementations to their marketing programs. And now, there is no shortage of “experts” making their predictions of social trends for 2013. (Okay, I added some context here as well. 🙂 )

But this post is not a prediction. Social media metrics is a MUST for 2013. And I am putting my skin in the game. In the words of the great Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Before I share my efforts defining meaningful social metrics, let’s first review “What Successful Social Media Looks Like.” As I mentioned in that article, social marketing is not a strong channel to promote sales. But social is very strong at increasing Awareness, Consideration, Loyalty, and Advocacy. All of these attributes “tee up” sales. Thus we should measure social as a function of awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy … at least as a start.

At Ryan Partnership, a full service marketing agency where I head up the social practice, I have defined the Social BrandAction Index. The Social BrandAction Index is a proprietary algorithm that weights different input parameters in each category of awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.

Social BrandAction Index

When I calculate the Social BrandAction Index for clients I come up with a number, say 237. The first question is “what does 237 represent? Is that good?” The number starts with a baseline and is meaningless at first look. The index needs to be looked at as a trend. You need at least four months of data to see how this number is trending. Trending is what is important. It tells how social programs are increasing (or decreasing) awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.

Certainly, the Social BrandAction Index provides meaningful information. But it must evolve, as social continues to evolve. For example, pins from Pinterest need to be added. At this time, Pinterest does not provide analytics that can be captured other than counting manually. Another case in point is sentiment analysis … it needs to improve significantly and it is part of the social metrics.

So yes. We have a start of meaningful metrics. But I will be the first to admit that they need to mature. So in 2013, I will continue to work on social media metrics modeling that provides the most accurate and telling conclusions of brand social marketing implementations. As I quoted Drucker in the beginning, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If you have some thoughts with regards to how we take social metrics forward, let me know. Maybe we can collaborate to improve what I have defined thus far.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve



Filed under BrandAction, measuring social media, Social BrandAction, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media performance, social media ROI

5 responses to “2013 – The Year Social Media Will Be Measured Correctly

  1. Jim Matorin

    Steve: A good foundation. I strongly believe that social media provides the platforms to help companies get closer to their customers B2C or B2C. We need to start establishing retention KPIs as part of this mix.

  2. Steve – I come from a television marketing background so I have that mindset of knowing what I am buying. With social media that doesn’t currently ‘exist’ in the same vein so I would love to have a metrics that measures it.

    My issue would be that the social marketing game is ever changing and not just with current networks but with new networks popping up. If we are looking at trending what is to prevent an agency from not doing anything with Instagram and then adding it to the mix and telling a client: Look its trending upwards and their only change was to add Instagram.

    It is not impossible to create, but it will certainly take time and thought to figure out how to measure the effect of social media properly. That being said I agree with your take that social media marketing is about:

    awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.

    Now to measure it properly.

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for chiming in. Agree with your perspective. We cannot simply add a new platform and say “hey look – your metrics went up.” Month to month comparisons need to be apples-to-apples. But we should also be in the position to add new platforms and “re-baseline” based on new platforms … alternatively, it would be great to have a tool that captured all meaningful data independent of platform.


      • Very true regarding the re-baseline idea. It would allow for an apples-to-apples for the past and going forward.

        We have/had what is called a make-good in the TV industry and essentially it is a way to help deliver on the promise of the campaign. For example, you contract to deliver 1,000 eyeballs and the program only received 500. The station has to make that up to the buyer in some shape or fashion to make the client whole.

        How can this be integrated into social media? Can it? You cannot say that you will get 100 new followers on Facebook because you cannot guarantee that and in addition to that is it important to have 100 followers who don’t engage or 10 followers who are stewards of your brand and community leaders.

        I keep bringing it back to TV because I think that is how a lot of businesses view social media. In the realm of Nielsen ratings and so getting a metric that somehow reflects that thought process is probably what is necessary to bring more clients into the social media marketing game.

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