Discussing SEO and PPC campaigns with prospective new clients involves forecasting return on investment. It involves demonstrating exactly what a client could expect to get and estimated time frames for this (based on previous experience). Performance is very clearly and easily measurable.
If SEO and PPC campaigns are there to generate leads, then we, as those in charge of the campaign, will be measured on how many we generate. If it’s e-commerce, we’ll be measured on how many sales we generate and the revenue that brings in. Google Analytics makes it nice and simple to see:
Social media, on the other hand, isn’t always as straightforward in terms of measurement. It only takes a swift browse across websites of social media agencies to note that the promised measurements aren’t always as “˜scientific.’
Buzzwords like “interaction,” and “engagement,” like “brand building” and “incentivising” are banded around a LOT in social. I agree – all of those things are important benefits of social media.
But that’s not always as straightforward in terms of measuring and reporting as the metrics we use in measuring SEO and PPC campaign performance. Measuring brand building isn’t something you can do at the end of a given month scientifically with absolute figures to back up what you’re saying.
For a Digital Marketing Agency like ours where the focus is on measurable return, our clients like us to approach campaigns and campaign performance assessment scientifically.
“1172 new people followed your Twitter account and you got 2461 new Facebook fans this month.”
That is a meaningless piece of information to a Marketing Manager with a set budget and a target to hit – and little or no interest in the inner workings of Facebook!
On the other hand:
“Your social media channels generated 2050 visits to your site this month, an increase of 35% on the previous month. These visits directly from these channels to your site converted at 3%, amounting for 62 sales with an average transaction value of £28. Thus, social media directly generated £1,736 through your website this month and w consider a realistic target to be an increase on this of 35% again next month.”
For the clients we deal with, that holds far more value.
Of course, considerations in measuring social like this are that:
There are ways of overcoming these issues and even in situations where it’s not as straightforward as getting a user from Twitter to your site and to a sale, there are measurements that matter more to a marketing manager with a tight budget than the number of Fans and Followers:
Bear in mind though, that while an enquiry or sale from SEO or PPC could be immediate, a sale as the result of some social activity could come months and months after a new customer discovers you socially. These are expectations that need setting right from the off.
Followers, fans, shares, mentions…we know it all matters in getting to the final destination. But these should be secondary metrics. It’s ultimately about what all this activity leads to. Elements we report on in a more secondary fashion include:
We’re an agency that reports scientifically. Our clients expect solid analysis from us and figures that mean something. Yes, it’s important to explain how we achieve social success with secondary metrics as discussed above. But ultimately, it comes down to what the client is getting back (whether directly or indirectly) as the result of work we do on the social side of things. Social media, when discussed in the context of ‘sharing, interacting and making people like you’, can seem a little bit ‘fluffy’ and it’s my feeling that it’s this ‘fluffy’ side of social that can be a real barrier to businesses truly understanding the benefits of social media within their overall marketing plan.
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About the Author
Stacey joined us in 2009 as a junior copywriter; now she's a recognised figure on the global speaking circuit, having wowed audiences in the UK, Europe and US - including at MozCon 2014. She leads our search team and works with clients to deliver high-level campaign strategies.Visit Stacey's Page
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