Are Businesses Measuring the Right Social Media Metrics?

The results from a recent survey done by MarketingSherpa caught my attention.  They asked over 2,000 marketers what metrics they use to monitor and measure the impact of using social media – here are the results courtesy of MarketingSherpa:
Social metrics chart from MarketingSherpa
Three significant observations about these survey results caught my attention:

  1. The top 2 metrics are about presence – number of visitors and network size.  These are interesting data for analysis and market intelligence that could produce tangible results for targeted campaigns.  While having a large number of social media visitors and followers doesn’t necessarily translate into business results, it appears that companies are currently primarily focused on establishing and building their social media presence.
  2. The 3rd and 4th highest ranked metrics are about reputation – no question that brand, product and company reputation are huge considerations for social media and should be diligently monitored and measured.  The surprise is that only 56% and 50% respectively use these metrics which means that almost half of the companies surveyed don’t know what social media commentary and sentiment is expressed about their brand, product or company.
  3. Leads generated only ranks 6th with 48% monitoring and measuring this outcome from their social media activities.  This is an alarming observation for me.  Marketing shouldn’t do anything unless it eventually supports and/or produces sales for the company.  Presence and reputation are all important contributors for supporting and producing sales, but leads generated is a more tangible measure that everyone in the company understands.  But more than half don’t bother to measure this!
The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it. ~ Sergio Zyman

The results of these types of surveys can be interpreted in many different ways depending on one’s perspective.  The results of this survey are very similar to my own observations and anecdotal information.  Maybe it’s an evolutionary process that will shift focus and measurement to more tangible outcomes over time.  It will be interesting to see the results of this same survey in subsequent years.

How does this survey correlate with your social media monitoring and measures?  What observations do you have about this?  Your comments are always welcome.
Copyright © 2010 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC.


Mark Palony said...

Mike - The 48% using lead generation as a measurement is not a surprise to me. It wasn't long ago that social media was considered part of PR and using such tactics for marketing was taboo. As the philosopy evolves, and more companies use social media to generate new business leads that figure will grow.

Tom Pick said...

I'm surprised that only 48% measure it, but not that it isn't a top goal. Social media IS more like PR - it's more about increasing influence than directly producing leads. For example, research has shown that people are more likely to click on AdWords ads for companies if they are already familiar with that company through social media. So, SM plays an influencing role but doesn't always get direct credit for producing the lead.

Anonymous said...

Mike - Thanks for drawing this to our attention.

I'm not terribly surprised. When social media works, the way it causes market action leading to sales has a very high degree of "untrackability".

Certainly, for an entirely online play, you can measure leads with fairly good accuracy (50%? 60%?). But it you're at retail, separating out the influence of SoMe on your sales is extraordinarily tough.

Besides, for many agencies, measuring any response is such a huge step that they haven't yet learned to measure the really important things.

In fact, if we were able to rank this study against dollars, I wouldn't be surprised that no more than 5% to 15% of the SoMe dollars are being measured for lead or sale impact.

It's too bad. But sounds closer to reality.

...Doug Garnett

Rick said...

Thank you for posting this. I think 48% is good news. It means that 48% are using social media as a strategy and not a result. It means that they are using social media to help achieve business objectives, and not just have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and the like.

Rick Hardy