Tag Archives: metrics

Social Media: More a Research/ Analytics than a Marketing Tool?

2 Sep

Social + Media + Research

Read an article yesterday about increasing apathy amongst college goers on brands’ social media marketing efforts. Add to that another from the flip side of the coin – CMOs. According to a recent study, only 15% of U.S. CMOs have been able to quantitatively prove Social’s impact!

It kind of points towards an old felt-but-not-quite-articulated hypothesis I had! At the time, I used to think that I felt this way because my business was more focussed on the use of social media for a “learning” experience, not so much an “outreach” one. And this despite the fact that marketers we spoke to almost always were interested in the lower hanging fruit, i.e., the marketing using SM. So, when we went in with a pitch that said – “hey, this is what social media can teach you about your consumer or your competitor or your brand”, they would say, “hey, can you help us make our facebook page better”! Maybe it was compounded by the fact that the consumer insights/ market research people, those that would truly benefit from this, turned up their noses at this “unconventional, unstructured, “qualitative”‘ data source and took whatever we said with a pinch of, no! scratch that – huge dollops of salt! (See my very first blog post on this question of whether social media research is fish or fowl! )

So my hypothesis was just this – that Social’s FIRST and BIGGEST benefit was as a data source for higher consumer understanding. After all, this was/ is a medium that is changing the way people talk/ behave/ share/ opine – in many cases, this reflects people’s needs/ wants/ perceptions/ attitudes/ usages/ purchases. Most importantly, it is PEER to PEER. And proactive/ not reactive. Why then would you not leverage it for classical research questions? (Sure, it applies only to that percentage of the population that is connected, but, a) that is a large number in most countries now and b) even where it isn’t, it can be used as a proxy for the relevant categories.)

Ofcourse, I don’t think we should be ready to junk Social Media as a marketing tool yet – in fact, my hypothesis notwithstanding, I do think that the world is getting more digital – and therefore, marketers have no choice but to follow their consumers – i.e., go where the consumers go – in other words, social..

So then, what causes the CMO’s disenchantment with the medium? Maybe its the inadequate/ non standardised measurement/ metrics piece – obviously, if you aren’t convinced about how you are measuring input and output, you will not be convinced of the ROI of your spend. (See my older post on KPIs for Social Media Measurement for a way towards metrics and KPIs)

What is your take? Marketing or Research? (or measurement?)

social media research (Credit: conversition.com)

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How to Create Social Media KPIs : The Science of Indices

27 Feb

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Yesterday my nephew, who is an earnest young brand manager in a lifestyle/ accessories Indian brand, was staring at his computer. When asked why he was looking so perplexed, he said – We’ve created this really nice campaign on facebook, which is engaging as well as makes a very powerful brand statement. Its also a first of its kind we think. Problem is – I am not sure how to figure out whether it’s doing well, and my bosses – all they are saying is – have you doubled your “likes”?

220px-Holygrail

As we all know, he is not in a minority – everyone on Social Media is chasing the ROI holy grail.

But, I really think in our quest for this elusive target, we are tending to overcomplicate Social Media.

Sure, “likes” is too unilateral and limiting – especially when facebook doesn’t allow dislikes. Everyone also knows we should also measure sentiment – positive or negative. But then comes “response” which signifies “engagement”. And then there is also “relevance” – given that Social media has a) so much spam, but also b) so much that’s just random thoughts/ opinions/ rants that either don’t give you an insight into your brand, or don’t meet the objectives you have set out for your campaign.

So, what do you do? Its simple! You create metrics for each such that you can individually measure each parameter that you want to measure.

But ofcourse, there’s the C Suite who want your elevator pitch on – how are we doing? (3 seconds does NOT allow you to say – weeellll, on likes we are better than January, but on engagement we are slower…and sentiment is half positive – half negative – and the rest neutral (yah yah I know – it doesn’t add up!). Your CMO is going to walk right out of the room.

Hence, you create this snazzy sounding “Index” – you can name it ANY godd#$% thing. Integrated Performance Index (sounds even cooler as an acronym IPI ☺ )/ Social Media KPI/ Virality Index (I used that in the old days)/ Brand Health Index… / Campaign Success Index

What is the Index finally? It is a multi attribute weighted number (remember I had said that most management professionals must be grateful to BCG for the 2 by 2 matrix? So also should a lot of folks thank the guy who invented this decision making methodology. So, you take whichever parameters you think you should measure, ascribe weights to them, and derive your index out of the weighted average of these numbers.

kpi

Simple? A-ha! The complexity really resides in WHAT parameters to choose and, more importantly, WHAT weights to ascribe. (A quick google to get some actual statistical validity here brought me to this complex article called “On the convergence of multiattribute weighting methods” in the European Journal of Operational Research – for those who are so inclined, please delve into the advantages of the ratio vs. the swing weighting vs. the tradeoff vs. the pricing out method ☺ )

But statistical theory apart, this above is what is the most important factor in getting the relevance of your index or KPI. The weights of each parameter really depend on a few things:
a) The marketing objective of the campaign/ channel – Is it to spread awareness, to engender better knowledge, to direct towards trial, purchase or loyalty – different objectives will have different weights
b) The product category itself – Is it an introductory/ launch category; a growth one or a stable one – where exactly in the PLC does it stand
c) The competitive scenario – how active or inactive are competitors (both category competitors and mindshare/ walletshare competitors) in the social media space – what is the clutter out there that your campaign has to break!
d) How much effort – time/ money/ people are you investing behind the campaign – actually, this is a bit of a circular function as this will to a certain extent depend on the marketing objective – atleast in the ideal scenario

All the above will help deciding weights – the allocation is however likely to be a bit of an iterative situation.

So there you have it – your quick and easy guide to creating your perfect unified/ integrated KPI for your Social Media Campaign (or for that matter any other). Where’s my consultancy fee?

Meanwhile, lemme go see if my young nephew created the right algorithm to keep his bosses happy ☺

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