Social media

Social media analytics: The heart of the matter

Ever since my days working in the marketing department of a well-known magazine publisher who was and still is, facing challenging times, I have been plagued by the conundrum that is measuring marketing effectiveness. At that time the focus was on measuring traditional ATL/BTL media, but naturally, the conversations have since evolved to focus more on social media. It is a topic that attracts a broad spectrum of viewpoints.

Initially, social media analytics tools were all about measuring the ‘how many’, in terms of click-throughs, likes, follows and shares. Fantastic for measuring awareness, traffic and cut-through, but for the vast majority of businesses (with the exception of those that function wholly online), it was almost impossible to directly attribute the contribution of social media to ROI and the baseline.

The next phase of evolution looked more closely at the ‘what’, in a bid to turn conversations about a brand, product or campaign into something meaningful that could then be fed back into the business as actionable insight. This more qualitative approach brought depth and richness to analysing social media by recognising the differences between negative and positive feelings toward brands. Such tools also looked more deeply into the conversations people were having, which, in turn, helped to make more sense of the numbers.

Recent developments in analytics tools reflect what we – as insight consultants – have long recognised to be the key to truly understanding and learning from conversations about brands – the big ‘who’. Making sense of information is easier and more accurate when viewed in context of who has said it.

Having looked into the rationale for ‘how many’ Vs. ‘what’ and ‘who’, and observed the seemingly unending arguments over which provides a truer picture, my conclusion on the matter (for now, at least) is that the ‘who’, when coupled with the ‘how many’ and the ‘what’ makes for an altogether more holistic approach. Well-roundedness and method neutrality is something that we at Truth have always valued and continue to apply to our approach to every new brief.

Now, if someone could just make it quicker and cheaper to do, I’m certain they’d be onto a winner! If you have any thoughts on the matter, please send them my way!

Deborah: always aiming for effective efficiency and efficient effectiveness