Integrated Social Media Analytics
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What makes social media analytics so complex? One word — integration!

Integrated social media analytics

Integrated social media analytics means developing a holistic understanding of your digital marketing efforts.

Think about it. You have:

  1. multiple social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+
  2. your website
  3. SEO stats, keyword performance
  4. your email marketing
  5. social listening programs
  6. offline marketing

How do you make informed decisions when faced with disparate data from all these sources?

How do you bring this data to bear on decisions and use it to plan strategic direction that optimizes market performance?

Unfortunately, many brands don’t do such a good job of integrated social media analytics, in part because most analytics tools only analyze metrics from 1 or a few of these sources. Sure, some analytics tools, like IBM’s Core Metrics, let you know where website visitors come from and which move down the marketing funnel most effectively. Other solutions superimpose Tweets over website visits. Again, nice, but you need more.

That’s a great start on integrated social media analytics.

But, fully integrated social media analytics is a lot bigger than simply understanding how visitors from different social networks move interact on your website. That’s because social media content moves fluidly between your social platforms and your website and social media strategy involves integrating strategy across your marketing efforts.

Solving the problem of integrated social media analytics

I wish I had a solution to this problem, but I don’t. The purpose of this discussion is to encourage analytics firms to find a solution. And, to suggest an approach to building a solution. I know it’ll be expensive, but the insights provided by integrated social media analytics will be worth it.

What to measure

Earlier, I listed a number of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) necessary to optimize your market performance. These KPIs cross social platforms, the website, and social listening metrics, which fits the bill for integrated social media analytics.

When to measure

Experts suggest the right time to integrate social media metrics is at the point where the data is generated. That makes sense, which means your social media tool must handle all your digital marketing efforts rather than collecting data from other analytics tools and bringing them to the same place.

That’s what I’m currently doing for clients because there’s not an existing solution to the integrated social media analytics dilemma. I use IBM Cognos, which takes CSV files from various digital solutions and brings them to the same place as a dashboard. Nice, but not optimal.

How to develop integrated social media analytics

Just seeing everything in 1 place helps a lot.

But, whatever tool is developed needs some flexibility to allow:

  • different types of data — ie. different KPIs since different firms in different situations might need different KPIs.
  • different time frames — for instance, a firm might need to lag website visits by 2-3 days behind an email newsletter was sent.
  • different levels of analysis — managers might want granular analysis allowing them to determine which piece of content or which group of visitors had the greatest impact, while C-suite and senior managers might want higher-level analysis summarizing results of individual campaigns.
  • a combination of programmed reports (for ease of use) and the ability to generate ad hoc reports, which can be saved for repeat analysis over time.
  • visual — you need visual depictions of the data — charts are much better than tables
  • drag and drop – sometimes data makes more sense when you see it juxtapositioned in a certain way. Being able to drag and drop charts into any position might help insights jump off the page.

Maybe you have ideas of other requirements necessary for integrated social media analytics. Please add to this list in the comments below. The better we design the requirements, the more useful the resulting tool becomes.

Again, I don’t have the technical ability to develop such a tool and I’ve not had much success in stimulating interest in developing a tool providing integrated social media analytics, but I know it’s necessary if social media analytics is to reach its potential.