At the IMC conference in Stockholm there was a panel of experts discussing how to leverage social media for web success. The discussion surrounded the definition of social media and what the panel thought were success measures online. Matthew Colebourne (CEO of coComment) said that measuring success depended on the goals and business objectives of the company who wanted to somehow leverage social media. I agree entirely, so I pressed the panel for more information and asked if my goal and objectives were set and a lift in brand perception was a target, how would we go about measuring the success of that? This was not answered very well, largely because the question was deflected by asking why measure brand awareness?
I feel that point needs addressing first before I continue to press the question. It depends on who you’re talking to when you talk about branding. Semantics are an important issue as we saw with the engagement open discussion among many web analytics practioners. Some of my customers call branding all the ways to reach or touch the consumer. In that context branding lift would be an extremely useful metric, a KPI even if actions could be taken to improve the branding and optimize the marketing spend. Social media therefore becomes an incredibly important reach factor.
Let me put it another way. I have a number of clients whom combined spend over ¢¬500 million euros per quarter on marketing (all marketing). They have found ways to optimize the way they spend their money by using web analytics but are constantly on the lookout for new ways to reach and engage with their consumers. Social media is one way to do this but currently because there is no framework for measuring the impact of social media on the bottom line they aren’t spending on social media yet. This is an opportunity.
Getting back to the point, the panel at the IMC couldn’t or didn’t answer this question so now I’m asking you;
Forget about branding semantics “How do you measure the success of social media marketing campaigns and what tools can you use to optimize those campaigns?”