According to an eMarketer survey, most advertisers and agencies measure the impact of their social efforts only through soft metrics like engagement. These include the number of followers, comments and time spent on social pages. While these metrics are an important yardstick, determining true ROI requires measurement of social marketing’s impact down to the revenue-level. Although this is inherently difficult with limitations of current tracking technology, brands can measure incremental sales attributed to brand exposure through social media. Here’s how Starbucks did it, as detailed in a white paper called “The Power of Like”:
Borrowing the A/B testing methodology from paid media advertising, a test group and a control group were created. Both groups included Fans as well as Friends of Fans with similar demographic and behavioral characteristics. For 4 weeks prior to applying brand exposure, the purchase incidence for both groups was measured to ensure they were nearly identical. The test group was then exposed to brand messages and posts for a period of time, while the control group had no social brand exposure whatsoever. The purchase incidence of each group was measured again four weeks after brand exposure was applied.
The result? The test group showed 38% greater incidence to purchase than the control group (2.12 percentage points vs. 1.54 percentage points). The lift in purchase incidence increased week-over-week after brand exposure was applied too, showing the latent effects of exposure, continued or one-time.
When Target conducted this study, it found similar results. The lift in purchase incidence for Target was 21%. What was surprising is that Friends of Fans showed a greater lift (27%) compared with Fans (19%). This finding strengthens the case for brand “amplification”. Instead of just stopping at Fan Acquisition, brands should have an engagement strategy in place to reach Friends of Fans too. One way to do this is through Sponsored Stories, which help promote brand engagement to users’ friends.
It is needless to say that there is a symbiotic relationship between paid, owned and earned media. Each can augment another and inform the way programs are executed and measured. Knowing how each type contributes to the eventual goal and optimizing accordingly is what would get marketers to a stage where 1 + 1 = 3.
According to comScore, Google+ usage has been decreasing over the past few months, as seen in the chart below:
However, with Search Plus Your World, we’re seeing an increase in the number of brand pages. They’re investing time and resources into creating brand engagement through content and outreach.
Another interesting finding has been by a social media measurement company Simply Measured- apparently, Wednesdays and mornings are the most popular times for posts and user engagement. It seems to me that brands are posting more during these times, while user engagement is naturally following suit. Here’s a chart:
This is definitely an insightful finding and it will be interesting to see how this evolves. If this trend continues, perhaps it’s worth looking at how it is impacting users’ engagement with other touchpoints, such as paid advertising and corporate websites.
According to the comScore report below, YouTube owns nearly half of US Online Video market. The metric used to determine this is the number of videos viewed in December 2011. However, I believe this is not the most accurate way to measure marketshare, as it doesn’t take into account user engagement, i.e. length of time spent watching a video.
Whether a video watched is 2 minutes or 2 hours long, this report counts it as one view. This is probably the main reason why Netflix’s share is shown only as 1%, since each video watched on the channel is way longer than a video watched on other sites like YouTube. This grossly skews the ratio, making it seem that Netflix is behind the game when its users spend hours and hours on the site.
That said, I don’t think “time spent watching videos” should completely replace “number of videos watched”. Both should be taken into consideration for more accurate and balanced analysis.