It is early days in decent social media measurement in both ROI and performance measurement. The social networks themselves offer little to measure – which is why a meeting with David Beaton, Custometrics to discuss conclusively measuring the impact of social media on brands and business just tickled me pink. First off – a big thank you to David Ing, a former colleague of mine from IBM who acted as the connector.
At the lovely red rocket café (excellent scones and coffee, free wifi no limits), I spoke of my frustration of not being able to show tangible roi from social media activities. My last client wanted to see a direct line from social media to the bottom line – which is so hard to do when there are so many other factors influencing the bottom line. Sure our campaign was successful and the client was very pleased with the efforts – but it was still hard to deal with the desire for a straight line to revenue generation.
This is the kind of tough research and analytics that David’s teams do all the time. David leads Custometrics, a company that is regularly commissioned to help identify which marketing activities lead to the greatest impacts on brands – thereby adding a significant amount of science to how a marketer should allocate her spending.
David was excellent at explaining what is hard to explain. Many marketers experimenting with social media have a hard time answering to how effective social media has been compared to other spending. In the absence of good ROI measurement the effectiveness of social media is not known. But being unknown is not same as bad or ineffective – it is just that the effects are not known. Unfortunately – unknown effectiveness might as well be bad as some marketers could default back to traditional and ‘safe’ vehicle choices too early in their exploration.
The other half of the equation here – is getting something worthy of measuring. If firms are testing social media but not truly understand how create strategies that will make social media work hard – the results will not be stellar. That’s where I hope to come in. I would LOVE to be the surrogate marketer by playing an acting marketer role creating the digital marketing strategy and execution to fit the marketing and business goals. I see lots of metric holes and analyzes that if I had access to someone like David – I could really feed. Drawing a straight line to brand impact and sales volume for instance. Show lift of baseline. Separating all other factors from social media to prove success would be a lovely engagement. I want it and the bigger the better.
I look forward to uncovering the science – I welcome others thoughts here too.
Related posts from Laurie:
Social media metrics — an earlier post about managing corporate facebook pages.