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5 Bad Social Media Analytics

5 REALLY BAD things to measure in evaluating your social media marketing campaign.

Of course, there are lots of bad social media analytics used when evaluating your social media marketing campaign. Commonly, they’re used either because they’re easy to measure or because someone THINKS they have some meaning in evaluating the success of your social media marketing. Here are just 5 examples of really BAD social media analytics.

1. BAD social media analytics #1: ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is a tool used in decision-making to ensure decisions support the PROFIT motive of the business. And, maybe it’s really not so bad to measure ROI. But, it takes a good understanding of how social media works to calculate ROI in social media. Just expecting social media to have a miraculous, immediate impact on sales is a little naive.

Instead, you need to understand how social media impacts sales — which is an entire process. Just like advertising uses a hierarchy of effects to assess the impact of traditional advertising, we need a hierarchy of effects to assess the impact of social media on sales. Here’s my take on a social media hierarchy of effects:

5 Bad Social Media Analytics image haus triangleJust like when assessing traditional advertising, you use the social media hierarchy of effects to assess how successful you are in moving users through each level in the hierarchy. You use traditional market research to map these social media analytics to sales. Hence, you’d track how increasing your social media engagement from translates into increased sales.

BAD social media analytics #2: fans, followers, friends, …

There’s no correlation between these measures and anything of value to your firm — like sales. Studies show these folks are only marginally more likely to buy your product than folks who aren’t linked with you in social media.

Plus, depending on HOW you gained these fans, followers, friends … you may have lots who are not even in your target market.

BAD social media analytics #3: talking about this

Talking about this is a metric from Facebook Insights that assesses how many people are talking about your posts. And, talking about your posts may be a very good thing. But, and this is an important but, folks might also be talking bad about your post.

For instance, when Starbuck’s changed their logo, there was a significant backlash against the change. So, most of the “talking about this” was NEGATIVE.

Of course, it’s not just “talking about this” that’s bad. It’s blindly assessing numbers when it comes to interaction rather than the tone of that engagement.

BAD social media analytics #4: number of posts, status updates, tweets …

Again, there’s little correlation between these values and getting folks to buy your stuff.

BAD social media analytics #5: quality

OK, this one MAY be OK if you’re measuring it from the customers’ standpoint rather than using some objective assessment of quality — such as mean time to failure. So, tracking quality mentions across social networks has some value.

Quality is also a better surrogate for willingness to buy for both mundane products, like toothpaste, and for durable products, like electronics, education.

Of course, this also assumes that consumers use quality as a major determinant in which products to buy. In some cases, it’s really a more emotional reason that supports purchase.

GOOD social media analytics

We call good social media analytics KPI (Key Performance Indicators) because these elements MAP to improved market performance. Satisfaction, for instance, is a KPI because the more satisfied your target market is, the more stuff they’ll buy. Here are some other examples of KPIs:

  • Perceived quality
  • Awareness, since you can’t buy something until you know it exists
  • Loyalty
  • Positive word of mouth

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  1. Hyoun Park says:

    Completely disagree about ROI being a bad metric. The challenge with social media ROI is that the only companies that can measure it are those who understand their sales cycles and the cost and efforts associated with new customer acquisition, qualification, and conversion. If you don’t understand relationships between your marketing efforts and your revenues, social media ROI is a hopeless cause and your social media efforts are going to be challenged as well. If you do understand it, social media ROI makes all the sense in the world.

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