Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Social Media and Website Engagement as Business Outcome or KPI?

What is it that we really want to know when we are measuring social media engagement?  It can be an indicator of advocacy, brand affinity, purchase consideration, or actual sales.  In many cases, engagement is considered the outcome showing the value of brand.  The problem that arises in this is that all to often how it is measured has nothing to do with how the value of the brand translates into customer value or initial purchase.

The first problem is that measuring engagement often has more to do with the amount of time spent on site and the amount of view, clicks, and level of content reached.  On the surface, this is a great first step.  When looking closely, flaws abound.  The reason, what is the online experience trying to achieve?  If the purpose is a landing area that drives purchase conversions, then more time on the site and an increase in pathing may actually be an indication of less qualified visitation. If the purpose is education and a first step into creating a customer relationship, then more time on the site, activity, and depth of knowledge seeking can be a good thing,  However, to be realistic, have you looked at your SEO and SEM statistics lately?  My guess is that around 70% of those visiting your site are direct visitors or searching on branded keywords.  That being the case, visitors already know a good deal about you prior to coming to your site and the more time and research they do might also not be a good thing if they are comparison shopping.

Sounds a bit dire, right?

To counter this, web analysts are starting to take a look at measuring actions as they relate to conversion.  Simply spending time on the site, views, or measuring clicks isn’t considered viable and predictive.  However, if desired actions are achieved such as downloading high value content, sharing content, participating in discussions, or taking actions that are highly linked and indicative of purchase behavior, then tracking at this level is more valuable.  Actions can be more connected and aligned to desired results and predict conversion.  Right?  Maybe.  The issue arises of clearly understanding actions that predict conversion to sales or customer value.  The other issue is that measuring the number of actions also isn’t that far off from measuring page views, clicks, and time spent.  It might be more meaningful in that it is a validated initiative, but again, is more actions a good thing?  Once again, as with traditional metrics, at the end of the day, what is your site or landing area intended to do?

Measuring engagement should actually take into account both methods for a hybrid approach.  How this hybrid is determined once again depends on what your desired outcome for the website or online experience should be.  At the simplest level, starting with actions taken and tracked as the foundation of a predictive model is a more sound approach.  These are steps in a desired process for conversion, regardless of what your conversion intent is, that are reliable and accurately measured.  However, actions are part of a process and thus need to be ordered and weighted accordingly.  Processes are relatively linear in fashion and assigning a weight based on the step in the path is important.  It can be a simple distribution or multiplicative, but a step does have relevance and weight.  In a hybrid approach, we also want to introduce the traditional aspects of views, time spent, and clicks.  Starting with views and time spent, leveraging these as coefficients in the model will provide a better perspective on weight on desired actions and ultimately the desired outcome.  Essentially, views act as impressions that influence behavior and time spent introduces the amount of exposure necessary to trigger a desired result.  Taking from online display advertising effectiveness, banner ads as an influencing factor for awareness and conversion increases with exposure even if no action is taken to click through.

That leaves clicks.  This traditional metric introduces a duplicity element that needs reconciliation.  It is important to carefully introduce this measure into the model as it can inflate engagement metrics and thus over forecast results.  Clicks also can be an issue as it is typically a component of measuring effectiveness of ad spend.  What needs to be determined is if the click is associated to intended actions taken on site and avoid double counting or inaccurately measuring ROAS.

Ultimately, engagement is an indicator of a desired outcome and not the outcome.  Combining traditional site tracking methods to weight and adjust models predicated on process actions will create a more accurate predictor of outcomes.

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Filed under: business analytics, business intelligence, metrics, social media, social media marketing, , , , , ,

Online Personality: Who Am I Really?

For all of you that love finding out more about yourself through tests like Myers-Briggs, now you can see your online personality.  A new tool from HubSpot, Personality Grader, allows you to enter in your name and it will pop-up an overall personality score plus scores across 4 areas.  It is as easy as putting in your name and getting a result. Scores come with why you were scored in such a manner and how to improve.

Frequency – Online usage
Sentiment – demeanor in online interactions
Reach – overall network
Intelligence – how smart you come across

HubSpot Blog:  Personality Grader Makes Marketing Less Manic

I tried it out.  I plugged in my name and I watched the program as it told me it was sifting through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook wall, Flickr, Blogs.  Then it spit out my score.  Some of my ratings I saw some validity in, others I would argue against.  

So, I wondered how did it know one Michele Goetz from any other Michele Goetz online.  If you search my name on Google I find at least 3 including myself with presence.  Going back to the HubSpot Blog  the answer to this from Dharmesh Shah:

“This was a difficult one to solve.   What we ended up doing is putting in some Javascript code so we could watch each character of the name as it is being typed.  Based on the typing speed, the application determines which of the “candidate” profiles that match the name have the highest probability of being a match.  For example, if you type really slowly, it is unlikely that yours is the account with 17,000 twitter updates.  It’s not perfect, but we’ve found that this is close enough for our purposes. We’ll continue to refine this part of the software.”

Alright, let’s see what happens when I change the speed of my typing. No change.  

If you think about it, what this tool is really trying to help with is personal brand.  So I tried variations of my profile from user names to email addresses and behold, different scores.  What I wonder is if Michele Goetz accounts for aggregation of the right user names and emails in the aggregation.

One last interesting thing, I figured I’d plug in some well known online brands and check out the results.  I’ve included the links below. Let me know what you think – are they correct?  

Also, try entering these names in lower case letters and watch the difference.  Facebook was hilarious.  For Intelligence it said, “Your evaluation indicates that your intelligence is average; engaging in more meaningful conversations and sharing less about your personal life may improve this grade.”

Filed under: metrics, social media, , , , , , , , ,

Creating Endurance in Social Media Marketing

Endurance

Social media marketing is about endurance, not the blips and clicks you watch daily.

As a runner, I think about this constantly. Now with spring starting, I hit the pavement for the first time this weekend since snow started falling. This point of endurance resonates with me as I think about how to get back on my game. I move along my route listening to my body to determine how I’m doing: too fast, too slow, do I need to change my stride, what is the next landmark in my route, can I go farther today?

Social media marketing is the same, as is marketing in general.

You may have sprints through your marketing vehicles, but it is how you create endurance through your total efforts that is the real pay off. Social media marketing has a variety of tools to use: blogs, networks, micro-blogging, advertising, etc. Each one is your sprint or a segment of your run. Combining these vehicles you create your long distance run. Think about the fact that you have different levels of success across various vehicles and there are peaks and valleys. What you are shooting for is that through a combination of vehicles you marketing efforts increase the connection to your audience over time and drive your business.

Relationship building takes time. You’ll get initial successes as you enter the market through social media because what you offer is new. It is how you continue to provide value in the conversation and engagement that will determine if you social media marketing efforts will continue to provide ROI. After the launch, do you maintain your engagement levels and grow them? Or, is there a drop and leveling off? Is there a drop and then nothing? You have to continue to focus and work on it.

Some of the things that I’m looking are measures that tell me that I’m building trust and relationships. These measures are based on trends rather than points in time.

  • Subscribers – Is it increasing? What are the retention rates?
  • Comment trend – Is it increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same?
  • Readership trend – Is it increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same? Are readers going deeper into additional content (more views)?

One other thing I’m thinking about is the steepness of trends. You may get a big benefit from a steep and fast growth but, it may be better to be slow and steady. It’s the runner’s pace. Until you reach leader status and have the reserves and resources, it sometimes pays off to create a pace that is aligned to your resources that will let you stay in the race rather than peak early. Peaking too early may deplete your resources and you are left without the ability to sustain the relationships you were acquiring.

For social media marketing, think marathon, not the sprint.

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Filed under: metrics, networking, social media, , , , , , , , , , ,

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