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Published on

March 11, 2011


measurement, metrics

We like to talk a lot about metrics and measurement on this blog. Mainly because it’s a fundamental part of a social campaign but also because it’s poorly done by a lot of PR firms. It shouldn’t be though. Social media is relatively easy to measure but it does require an element of logical thinking which is perhaps why some PR types struggle with it.

There are tons of different tools (free and paid for) that help marketers evaluate the level their campaigns are hitting their target audiences. However, one thing that none of the tools I’ve seen can provide is the human analysis of what certain trends actually mean. And this is where the more savvy firms have measurement/reporting frameworks that help guide clients into what the stats really mean.

If you’re speaking to a firm that doesn’t have a methodology for measuring its proposed social campaign, you might want to pick them up on that.

So what does a reporting framework actually look like when it comes to social media campaigns?

Here are 5 elements that should be a part of your reporting structure:

Views Or Opportunities To See:

This is probably the metric that those in traditional PR are most comfortable with. How many eyeballs have seen the content produced? It’s easy enough to work out with channels like YouTube where views are clearly displayed. A little more tricky with tweets, Facebook and blog posts where you need to look at impressions.

Sites such as Tweetreach and Facebook’s Insights are useful. I should add that getting a total number of views on content is by no means an exact science. Different sites have different ways of tracking and reporting impressions. In the same way circulation figures for print coverage should be treated with a pinch of salt, I’d recommend using views as a loose barometer of a campaign success.


The aim of this metric is to track how much your audience is interacting with your content. They’ve seen it and it has evoked a reaction. Comment numbers, @replies, URL shortener clicks are things to track here. It’s important to note that not all interactions are good. Kenneth Cole’s infamous tweet generated lots of interactions but I’m sure it wasn’t considered a good thing.


This is the bit that puts the ‘social’ into social media and is what brands really want their customers to do more of. How much of the content has been shared by people who don’t work for the company? They’ve seen it, it has evoked a reaction and they’ve felt compelled to pass it on to their network. Shares, retweets, likes are the metrics to track here.


This is the metric that tends to get the most headlines. How many Facebook fans or Twitter followers do you have? Yes, this is important but unfortunately many brands don’t really look at the quality of their Facebook and Twitter fans. Community should be about the people who have a common cause or reason to congregate around your content and what you are about. Blog subscribers are often overlooked here but ultimately the main aim of most social media campaigns should be to drive a targeted audience to your community or your ‘owned’ channel


The holy grail of ROI. This covers the impact of social media on the broader marketing efforts. Some choose to look at website traffic generated from social media sites as a metric, others look at the amount saved from other channels (such as customer service phone calls). However, this should be the key metric for why you decided to embark upon the social media journey in the first place.

While the other elements are just performance indicators to guide you on how well the campaign is going, this is the metric that should determine whether social media is meeting your business objectives. It’s important that this objective and the information around it is shared with whoever is developing and running the social media campaign as it will provide the ultimate guideline to whether the idea is a success or not. Every company is different so it’s to be expected that reporting formats will also differ from one campaign to the next. That said it’s important to have a holistic view on what’s important and what’s just a nice- to-have when it comes to social media.

This topic, and many more, features during the Social Media World Forum in London on March 29 and 30. We’ll be there too so drop by and say hi.

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