Thursday, September 4, 2008

Throwing out some metrics for Social Marketing

Here is a nice discussion of social marketing and metrics that throws out a few ideas for marketing metrics -

Old School Metrics

-Visitors and Page Views: The raw data for daily visitors and daily page views across your domain.
-Optin rate: The number of people who optin to your list vs. total traffic for that day.
-Search engine bots: Which bots visit your site on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
-Referrers: From engines to individual sites. Who is sending you traffic.
-Entry and Exit: The pages visitors land on and exit from your site.
-Paths: The pages or “path” your visitors take through your site.
-Bounce Rate: How many visitors stay on your site less than 30 seconds.

Social Marketing Metrics

-Subscribers: RSS and newsletter subscriptions.
-Stick-Rate: How long social traffic stays and moves around the site.
-Linking: How many people on different social sites are posting, voting, and linking to your site.
-Comments: Average comments generated per post.
-Pickup: How many times across how many social news sites your linkbait, for instance, gets picked up, talked about, and voted to prominent placement, such as the front pages of social news sites.
-Bookmarks: How many people are coming through social bookmark engines like Delicious.
-Link Popularity: How many sites/publishers you are attracting with your content who write about you and link to you in their posts (the best kind of link you can get).
-Social News Tracking: How many visits you get from social news as well as how well individual pieces of content do on each site.

You can tell that most of the recommended metrics are very specific to the marketing and branding domain. A lot of these metrics are also quite difficult to measure - how do you measure stick-rate for a blog post read via an RSS aggregator?

Also, just because someone is talking about you does not necessarily mean they are saying good things about you. In the days of condensed feedback loops, negativity spreads much faster as a meme than positive news. How do you make sure you are being talked about positively, if at all?

The biggest drawback in the above scenario of do you apply these to a company's intranet? How do you convince a company to invest into something that outside customers might never get a peek at? How do you measure "honestly" how much value your employees are really getting out of the intranet?

These are some of the questions I am currently focusing on in order to come up with a comprehensive set of metrics that one can throw at different situations in varying combinations in order to come up with a good view of the "health" of social media (ROI - Return on Influence) invested into by any entity.

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