Gauging Success with Social Media Analytics

How can we measure the true value of any social media campaign?That is a question that has kept more than a few social media marketers awake at night. While social media advertising spending is expected to reach $9.8 billion by 2016, it’s more than just advertising dollars that account for the real cost of social media. The resources needed to host Twitter chats, post Facebook entries, and dabble in other social media activities can carry a pretty hefty price tag when taking into account staff time, equipment, and the purchase of any social media monitoring software. With growing investments in social media activities, companies are investing huge sums of money toward social media marketing activities while often taking a somewhat simplistic approach toward measuring their ultimate success and return on investment.

So how do you measure social media? Danya has begun addressing this issue through a series of tracking and analysis tactics that help measure return on investment, track dissemination of key messages, and identify influencers that can help amplify a message. These tactics include leveraging online tools like Google Analytics, Radian6, HootSuite, Facebook Insights, and more. If you need some details on how these tools might work for your program, here’s an example of how they can be leveraged:

Metrics in Action

Let’s imagine that you’re hosting a Twitter chat with the goal of engaging and interacting with your target audience. When it comes time to track and measure the event, it’s best to plan your strategy in advance. First, consider how you’ll track and report the event’s success. What are your goals and what are the measurable elements that will help determine if your goals were met? Leveraging an online metrics site like Radian6, you can track how many participants posted during a chat, how many posts were original versus retweets, the geographical location of those who posted, chat sentiment, the chat’s potential reach, and numerous other valuable statistics. But knowing who participated is only part of the story.

Next, you’ll probably want to know if your Twitter followers simply viewed your posts and then went about their daily lives. Did your posts stimulate some form of online action from your followers? By integrating the same tools with link tracking, you can measure how many people clicked on links posted within tweets, as well as the total website traffic volume generated by any given Twitter chat.

Finally, you’ll want to know what people did once they found your content. People clicking on links posted within your Twitter chat does not in itself qualify as a true success metric, as those visitors may immediately leave your website without taking any further action, rendering them about as valuable as those who never clicked on your links in the first place. Link tracking, as well as integration of other tools, provides Danya with the capability to isolate all on-site activity from visitors who have clicked-through from Twitter links or who have decided to visit your website as a result of a Twitter post or chat. This will allow your team to view metrics such as the bounce rate, the average time spent on the site, the total number of page views, and what content Twitter chat visitors are viewing. Danya is also able to report on conversion actions such as event registrations, searches conducted, and content shared with others¾all tied directly to actions taken by participants from the Twitter chat.

What Metrics to Track

So, you’ve fallen in love with metrics? Here are the important questions to ask and metrics to track:

  • How many people participated in my Twitter chat? Use Unique Source Count metrics, hashtags used, and mentions or retweets.
  • What was the reach of my Twitter chat? Use Potential Reach metrics and share count.
  • Did my Twitter chat drive traffic to the website? Use link tracking metrics and website analytics.
  • What are visitors doing upon arriving on the site? Integrate Google Analytics to measure user engagement.
  • How does that compare to my other social media and traditional marketing channels? Compare traffic and visitor engagement across various social media channels, being sure to measure outcomes that link directly back to your project goal.

It’s this holistic approach to social media campaign tracking that now allows Danya to truly answer the incredibly broad, yet common, question of “how successful was my social media campaign?” For more information on metrics for government campaigns and activities, check out GSA’s new digital metrics toolkit.

By Michael Fitzpatrick

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One thought on “Gauging Success with Social Media Analytics

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