Tag Archive | "metrics"

Brands Are Still Too Reliant on Engagement Metrics (Report)

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Social media marketers have been plagued with a number of problems in recent years, and it seems that many find it difficult to keep up with the changing objectives. The 2016 State of Social Marketing report from Simply Measured provides valuable insight into the areas marketers need to work on.

Some businesses are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of how to leverage social media channels. However, 63 percent of businesses using social teams use them for marketing, 16 percent for communications, 5 percent within public relations departments and only 1 percent dedicate social media resources to customer support. Unfortunately, social customer service is definitely an area that continually lacks support, but it can bring great results when integrated into an overall strategy.

Social teams still remain very small. 71 percent of the 350 social media professionals surveyed have up to two employees working for them, while 27 percent have up to 10 people on the social media team. What’s more, social teams lack resources, according to the survey results, probably because businesses still struggle to understand and quantify the value of social media activities.

56 percent of marketers still rely on engagement metrics for indications of success, while only 20.7 percent focused on conversions, which are the better gauge of return on investment. 61 percent of marketers surveyed reported that measuring ROI was their main challenge, 38 percent cited securing budgets and resources and 33 percent cited tying social efforts to business goals. Less than 10 percent reported that they are able to quantify social driven revenue.

Without sufficient budgets, many find solving these problems is also problematic. 42 percent report that budgets are insufficient for all of the software they need to track analytics and publish content, and 34 percent say they have no software budget at all. Additionally, 42 percent say they need more staffing, and 43 percent want more analytics software.

Social media marketing has proved its value many times over, through influencers and personalization, among other advances. Given the evolving nature of well-established platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the new models created by the likes of Snapchat and Pinterest, it’s important to understand what social teams need to be most effective.

Download the full report for more details about the state of specific social networks and how brands can get the most out of their social media efforts. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

What’s Next for Social Video? (Infographic)

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Video has become a driving force behind engagement on social media. Indeed, social media users spend more time watching video than ever before, and providing video has positive impacts on conversion, audience retention and a number of other metrics.  A new infographic from Animoto examines the tactics businesses are employing to capitalize on the swell in video engagement.

Marketers are increasingly taking advantage of video, and more of them are generating original content for their campaigns. According to Animoto, 84 percent of professional marketers and 55 percent of small and midsized business owners have produced or outsourced an original video in the last 12 months. SMBs are a growth market for video, as more millennial business owners work it into their strategies.

A total fo 76 percent of those who have used video in the past 12 months report a direct business impact, and more than 60 percent plan to increase their investments in video next year. And this is a wise decision, given where the market is heading.

Business owners are going where the engagement is, with 44 percent on average planning to spend money promoting video on Facebook during the next year. Additionally 26.4 percent of pro marketers and 18.5 percent of SMB owners are planning to spend money promoting content on YouTube.

For more details, and to see attitudes toward Instagram video, view the infographic below.

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Squarespace introduces new analytics for its commerce-focused customers

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Commerce Metrics

How the Convergence of Marketing, Ad Tech Led to Richer Data Insights

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Marketers spend most of their time on marketing strategy, budgeting and planning–processes that require collaboration across business groups to analyze consumer data and insights. Traditionally, this cycle of moving from strategy to execution took weeks and possibly months of refinements, all based on limited data points.

This practice is still commonplace today, but it doesn’t have to be. The marketing landscape changed significantly in 2015. Channels like social media can now provide detailed, actionable data points within hours. Marketers can now move quickly–provided that they’re willing to use the data that is now accessible.

To better grasp what’s possible, let’s first examine four key shifts that occurred in 2015 that are shaping the marketing landscape of 2016.

  • Data sources merged: A slew of companies, ranging from multinationals to startups, helped aggregate data from different sources, including customer-relationship management, third-party data, device IDs and cookie pools. This development allows companies like Facebook to “deterministically” target mobile devices through its ecosystem while maintaining consumer privacy. Meanwhile, companies like Drawbridge and Tapad can do the same “probabilistically” for rest of the digital ecosystem.
  • Marketing tech acquired ad tech: Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle all acquired and/or continued to build more third-party data and ad-tech media buying stacks.
  • Big data became standard: Technologies like data-management platforms became commonplace, allowing advertisers to learn from the Twitter and Facebook feeds, blogs and the open web.
  • Social blurred customer service, CRM and marketing: Twitter and Facebook added capabilities, such as bots for Messenger, which allow marketers to interact directly with consumers. At the same time, they have learned to better use organic posts, social likes and comments to inform their marketing efforts.

These four moves all made in-depth data available to marketers and deepened the level of consumer understanding. Of course, consumer insights, preferences, interests and behaviors are moving variables. Hence, a combination of speed and multiple data sources is extremely relevant for marketers looking for actionable insights that can be applied for fast media execution.

In the past, I managed a marketing strategy project for a Fortune 500 financial services company that involved focus groups. This was in 2007, and it took several weeks and thousands of dollars to organize the groups, aggregate and analyze their feedback and then prepare the insights. The kicker was that this was for a housing and mortgage company–by the time all of the focus group and other primary research was completed, the housing market and consumer outlook had started changing dramatically.

In contrast, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest audience insights are both deep and current. As users spend time on social networks, their interests, attitudes and behaviors are automatically updated, which solves the problem of tracking moving variables.

For example, as soon as I liked the Marine Corps Marathon page in 2012, marathons and related sports activities become part of my personal attributes. In 2013, I posted a picture of running the race, which made my interest in marathons even more specific. Overnight, I became a target for sports brands like Asics, Nike and Gatorade, to name just a few. On the contrary, focus groups or surveys would have taken weeks or months to statistically infer my interest in running, and wouldn’t know that I had actually run the marathon after taking their survey.

Insights are one thing, but they need to be applied to media execution, which largely used to be a black box for marketers. Once marketers develop the campaign messaging and creatives, external agencies or in-house media buyers would spend an allocated budget to target customers and bring back ad performance statistics. Today, ad-tech (programmatic, social, etc.) puts media performance insights at marketers’ fingertips so they can monitor, in real-time, which messaging (ad content) is resonating best with what type of consumer segment, and how that leads to sales.

Today’s technology drives a better, faster integrated feedback loop. The combined powers of ad technology and marketing technology give marketers real-time access to insights, which helps them accurately understand “who” and “why” new customers. As a result, marketers can further refine their segmentation, targeting and positioning strategies for ever greater success. It’s easier than ever to move quickly and efficiently–but it’s up to marketers to adapt.

Shikhin Agarwal is the vice president of products at social marketing data and technology company Kinetic Social.

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Social Listening Is Key, but What Should Brands Be Listening for?

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“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey, the brains behind The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was spot-on. Many marketing leaders and teams make this mistake when approaching social programs. As both a chief marketing officer and a leader at a social software technology company, I see this everyday.

While we use a lot of terminology when it comes to building social strategies—social listening, social analytics, social intelligence—it all starts with the data. To take the first step toward building successful social programs, brands have to start listening to the data. Social listening—specifically listening with the intent to understand and make smarter decisions with better data—is the backbone to any successful social program for any organization, brand or business.

We have been working with large, very successful brands for many years now that are using social data with different levels of success and sophistication. There is a common theme we see time and time again: The moment when they realize that they now have access to massive amounts of data, yet they are not sure what to do with it. Disillusionment and trepidation start to creep in once they are hit with the “so what” moment.

At this point, big brands and savvy marketers understand that social data is critical to their business, and social listening is a must. For the purposes of clarity, social listening is defined as listening to your customers and potential customers, unsolicited online.

In practice, this means capturing mentions of your brand, interesting brand topics, competitors or really anything interesting to your brand found across the internet. This includes the obvious social sites, but also forums, blogs, etc.

So people are gathering and listening to data, but now they are struggling to prove success to their management and higher ups. In some cases, it has reached the point where top-level management has really started to wonder if there is any value and if it is time to put an end to the program in lieu of a new tactic. Social listening … so what?

From social listening to social intelligence

This is where the movement to social intelligence becomes crucial. Social intelligence as a practice means acting on social insights and tying social data to business impact. So you have the data, and you have started to pull interesting insights. It is time to move beyond that and analyze the data into meaningful, actionable insights and distribute those insights to the right parts of the organization, to in turn make smarter, business impactful decisions.

Easy, right? Well, not so much. It is certainly a progression path, and it takes a team and executive buy-in. However, once you have it, it is a process of moving from a project to a program that is scalable and repeatable.

We see this progression from social listening to social intelligence as a maturity model that is often based on adoption through use cases and can be used as a map for your program. There are many different use cases that I can discuss as examples, but I chose to give brief examples of the five most commons use cases that we see regularly:

  • Crisis: step one of almost every social listening program. Listen and monitor to detect potential fires before they arise, and escalate issues to the right people in real-time to be addressed with background and data. You can even dig a little deeper here to help build an informed crisis-response strategy.
  • Market research: social media is the world’s largest focus group for businesses. Use it as such to get answers to the questions you asked, but also to the ones you did not think to ask. The methods behind using social media in this way are getting closer and closer to traditional market research (audience segmentations, definition of panels, etc.), yet the trickiest aspect is insights, as there has to be a fine balance between monthly tactical insights and deep-dive research that drives strategic decisions. That said, all of this can be handled with a proper social intelligence tool.
  • Campaign management: Use data to conduct a thorough social analysis of your target markets, segments, consumers and past campaigns to drive the right messages to the right audiences. Then define true metrics to measure the success of campaigns that go beyond just volumes.
  • Brand health: Track the long-term positioning of your products and sub-brands versus competitors, and measure social reputation and satisfaction by audience.
  • Integrations: a key step for success is to tie social feedback to non-social data and make sure that social media does not live in its own silo. Integrations could be with your customer-relationship-management and sales tools, your business intelligence platform, your customer-care platforms or other social marketing platforms.

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Once siloed teams across your business are finally connected by data, people and systems, you’ll be able to use integrated tools and metrics to map value and drive smarter decisions. Understanding your goals and accessing the metrics of multiple practice areas throughout your company will allow your team to be able to fine-tune your social strategy and key performance indicators, ensuring that you’re bringing valuable insights back to the organization.

Always look beyond the “so what” of social data and connect your efforts to business impact. The “so what” moment can be distressing, but once you follow the program through the stages and start mapping value back to the business, adoption will follow.

Leah Pope is CMO of social insights provider Synthesio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Optimize Campaign ROI With Predictive Social Analytics

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Successful brands are taking strategic advantage of using social data and social analytics to build more insightful and customer-driven campaigns that realize business impact and social return on investment.

As Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” This is particularly poignant when looking at social programs and campaigns. Thinking you know what will resonate or drive success without research is the kiss of death.

Launching a social campaign without conducting a thorough social analysis of your target markets, segments, consumers and past campaigns can lead to subpar results. It is critical to use social listening and social analytics to really understand the data and, in turn, fuel campaign creative and strategy, which will boost the performance of your campaigns.

I recently published a piece on the progression path from social listening to social intelligence and the use cases and business drivers that are generally followed through this maturing of your social program, and campaign measurement is one of the foundational use cases that drives sophistication and adoption of your social programs. Feel free to dig deeper into the key business use cases that I see driving this adoption here.

Below is a breakdown of the four quadrants of success/failure into which campaigns can fall, based on budget and results. I have plotted the results here based on a Social Reputation Score.

SynthesioSocialReputationScore

Social Reputation Scores allow organizations to understand how they compare to their competitors within their markets, and against other markets, by analyzing customer satisfaction in real time. Brands use SRS as a business metric for customer satisfaction, as well as for industry benchmarking, competitive analysis, campaign measurement and crisis monitoring.

However your campaigns are performing now, it’s important to focus your key performance indicators on shifting your campaigns toward the top left-hand “major success” quadrant of the chart.

As you run more campaigns, gather more data and apply more sophisticated social analytics on the performance of your campaigns, you can begin to correlate campaign specifics, which can include content types, timing, duration and target market. Over time, the analysis will illuminate the types of campaigns that are likely to produce the strongest results and highest social ROI for your business.

Underperforming campaigns fall into a variety of categories. The most common, visualized by the charts below, are typically referred to within the social intelligence industry as “flop,” “bad buzz” and “no spread.” A campaign that flops is one that fails to produce any significant or sustained increase in buzz. A bad buzz campaign is one that generates a boost in buzz–but most of it negative. Finally, a no spread campaign is one that produces a very brief and unsustainable, although significant, increase in buzz.

SynthesioBuzz

With these examples of underperforming campaigns in mind, let’s take a look at what a high-performing campaign might look like:

SynthesioHighPerformingCampaign

While this is just one example of a successful campaign, there are repeatable key points that can be applied to your campaign measurement methodology. Ideally, the start of a new campaign will quickly generate a sustained (and steep) upward slope in positive buzz volume (as seen above), which should peak somewhere in the range of four to 10 times your pre-campaign volume baseline.

How long it takes to reach this peak depends on a number of factors, including the mediums in which your campaign material is appearing, the frequency of content placement, virality and more. Once your campaign has reached its peak, there should then be a gradual downslope of sustained positive buzz. This drop-off will ideally level out to a post-campaign baseline that is markedly, if not greatly, higher than your pre-campaign baseline.

It’s important to chart the slope of every campaign, regardless of overall success, because over time, you will be able to aggregate this information and turn it into an actionable body of historical campaign data. This can then be called upon with each successive campaign to fuel predictive social insights that will help you optimize campaign attributes both pre and post-launch.

For instance, if you have found that high-volume mixed-media campaigns tend to produce faster and higher peaks, this may be a campaign type you wish to rely upon more greatly in the future.

Moreover, by mapping social analytics for each campaign, you will be able to compare it to previous ones and develop useful predictions based on the data coming in. If the data appears to suggest suboptimal performance vis-á-vis historical data, then corrective steps can be taken to boost results.

Adjusting campaign messaging, content, target markets and geographies, and budget are a few of the steps that brands take to optimize campaigns that seem to lag in the early stages.

Once such steps have been taken, it’s then important to gather data on the impact of those corrective measures on campaign performance. Did adjustments in messaging and content boost the campaign peak over what was originally projected? Did an injection of extra budget midway through the campaign help to extend a period of post-peak buzz? Gathering and analyzing these types of data will help you gain a deeper understanding of which corrective actions are promoting higher campaign performance, and which are not as effective.

Truly successful campaigns are built upon thorough social analysis of target markets, audiences and past campaigns. To effectively tie any campaign investment directly back to measurable business impact, you must define and agree on the right business objectives and metrics for your brand and use case; and track them before, during and after campaigns. Most important, remember to always define metrics that are valuable to the business.

For more on social listening and intelligence programs, check out Forrester’s latest research on the market.

Leah Pope is chief marketing officer of social insights provider Synthesio.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Longer-Form Articles Work on Smartphones (Study)

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Good news for publishers dabbling in Facebook Instant Articles: A new study from Pew Research Center found that long-form news articles are more effective among smartphone users.

The study was conducted by Pew in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, using audience behavior metrics from web analytics provider Parse.ly.

According to Pew, total engaged time (time spent scrolling, clicking or tapping) with news stories 1,000 words and longer averaged about twice that with stories of 101 to 999 words—123 seconds, compared with 57 seconds.

Pew added that while 76 percent of the articles it studied were of the shorter variety, long-form stories attracted visitors at nearly the same rate as short-form stories—1,530 complete interactions (URL to definition) versus 1,576.

Other findings included:

  • 36 percent of interactions with long-form news lasted more than two minutes, compared with 10 percent for short-form news.
  • 66 percent of complete interactions with short-form stories were one minute or shorter, compared with 42 percent for long-form news.
  • Long-form news readers spent an average of 148 seconds on new articles arrived at via internal links, dropping to: 132 seconds for those visiting articles directly or vie email links; 125 seconds for those arriving from external websites; 119 seconds from search; and 111 seconds from social media, However, social media sites drive the most traffic overall, roughly 40 percent for stories of both lengths.
  • While Facebook delivers more readers—accounting for some eight out of 10 initial visits from social networks, compared with around 15 percent for Twitter—users who arrive from Facebook spend an average of 107 seconds in longer-form stories, rising to 133 seconds when they come via Twitter. Those figures are 51 percent and 58 percent, respectively, for shorter-form stories.
  • Late-night and morning are the times of the day with the highest engagement: Readers spend 128 seconds on stories 1,000 words or longer and 60 seconds on those shorter than 1,000 words late at night, and the morning figures are 126 seconds and 59 seconds, respectively.
  • Only 4 percent of readers of long-form stories and 3 percent of readers of short-form stories return to those stories on their smartphones, but when they do, they stick around: Return visitors to long-form articles spend an average of 277 seconds, compared with 123 seconds for overall visitors, and those figures for short-form stories are 110 seconds and 57 seconds, respectively.
  • Stories of both lengths have short life spans, as 82 percent of interactions with short-form articles occur within two days after publication, as do 74 percent of interactions with long-form stories. By day three, those figures are 89 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
  • 72 percent of long-form readers and 79 percent of short-form readers view just one article from a given site on their smartphones over the course of one month. Long-form readers are more likely to view multiple articles on their smartphones than short-form readers, but those figures are just 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

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Pew director of journalism research Amy Mitchell said in a release introducing the study:

These findings suggest that on small, phone-sized screens, the public does not automatically turn away from an article at a certain point in time or reject digging into a longer-length news article. Instead, the average user tends to stay engaged past the point of where short-form reading would end, suggesting that readers may be willing to commit more time to a longer piece of work.

Readers: How do your reading habits on your smartphones match up with the findings by Pew?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Scott McNealy’s Wayin acquires UK marketing platform EngageSciences

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social media

What Can You Measure on Twitter?

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You’re getting lots of retweets, clicks and eyeballs on your tweets. You know your Twitter account is doing great things for your brand … but you just can’t exactly explain how.

If you’ve been struggling to explain the value of Twitter to the higher-ups, you’re probably not measuring results well (or at all). In order to know what’s working and what’s not when it comes to all of that tweeting you’re doing, you’ve got to set objectives and define the metrics that you will measure to see how close you are to hitting them.

Here is a list of what you can measure on Twitter, and what each one will tell you about your successes–and where you need to improve.

  • Account growth: How many new followers you are adding each day/week/month. Useful for objectives like brand awareness.
  • Retweets: The number of retweets each of your tweets receives. Useful for objectives like reach, brand awareness, engagement with customers.
  • Favorites: The number of favorites each of your tweets receives. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, engagement with customers.
  • Replies: Who is replying to your tweets? What are they saying to/about your brand? Useful for objectives like engagement with customers, brand sentiment.
  • Mentions: The number of times your account is mentioned by others. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, engagement with customers.
  • Clicks on URLs: The number of clicks on a website you shared. Useful for objectives like website traffic from social media, customer acquisition.
  • Clicks to your profile: The number of clicks to your profile you see on each tweet. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, customer engagement.
  • Clicks on hashtags: The number of clicks on the hashtag(s) you share. Useful for objectives like brand (or event) awareness, customer engagement.

For most marketers, it isn’t possible–nor is it desirable–to try to measure and validate each one of the above metrics. Instead, choose the one(s) that will show you how close you are to achieving your objectives.

For instance, if you are exhibiting at a conference in two weeks and your goal is to use Twitter to raise awareness among attendees, you might want to measure hashtag clicks (How many people are engaging with the event hashtag?), retweets (How many people are sharing your tweets about the conference with their network?) and replies or mentions (Who is talking to you about the conference?). Alternatively, if you were the host of this conference, you might want to measure everything that an exhibitor would measure, plus clicks on the URLs you’re tweeting (Who is visiting your event page? Who is converting to a sale and buying a ticket?).

If you can zoom in on the metrics that matter most, you will be able to whip up impressive reports that showcase your big wins on Twitter, without being bogged down by irrelevant statistics. Plus, you’ll learn what worked–and what didn’t work–in the past so that you can improve going forward.

Readers: Which Twitter metrics have you focused on?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Is Facebook Exploring Ways for Verified Users to Make Money?

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Facebook verified users: What if you could profit from your posts on the social network? According to The Verge, ways to do so might be in the works.

The Verge shared the screenshots below of a survey some users with verified profiles are seeing, which gauges their interest in ways to promote causes or earn money from their personal presence on the Facebook, and asks what metrics they would be interested in seeing? Examples from the survey include:

Consider the following options for promoting your cause or earning money using your personal presence on Facebook. Which of these would you be interested in? (Select all that apply.)

  • Tip jar (place where fans can tip you money)
  • Branded content (earn money when posting with brand you have a sponsorship arrangement with)
  • Sponsor marketplace (a place where you can match up with advertisers for sponsorship)
  • Donate option (allows fans to donate to a charity you choose)
  • Call-to-action button (e.g., button saying, “Buy Tickets,” or, “Sign Up for More,” on your posts)
  • Revenue sharing (receive a share of revenue generated by ads in your post)

Consider the following data metrics for your personal presence on Facebook. Which of these would you be interested in? (Select all that apply)

  • Engagement (how many people comment, reach or share your post)
  • Non-follower audience info (age, gender, location of non-followers viewing your post)
  • Daily views (how many people saw your post each day)
  • Follower audience info (age, gender, location of followers viewing your post)
  • People reached (how many total people saw your post)
  • Video completion percentage (how much of your video people watch)
  • New followers (number of people who followed you after viewing your post)
  • Post comparisons (how your post performance compares to other peoples’ posts)

According to The Verge, even though verified users are not specifically mentioned, the questions in the survey are clearly geared toward them, with other subjects including how they use their profile pages, what types of content they share and whether their Facebook friends are mostly real-life friends or people they have never actually met.

Readers: Would you like to see Facebook roll any of these options out for verified users?

ConsiderTheFollowingOptionsForPromotingYourCauseOrEarningMoney WhichDataMetricsWouldYouBeInterestedIn

Tip jar image courtesy of Shutterstock. Screen shots courtesy of The Verge.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

June 2016
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