Social marketing has grown, evolved, and gotten increasingly more sophisticated over the years – as many of you working in the space can attest to. Audiences are bigger, there are more networks, more data, more opportunities, and more challenges. In an ecosystem this complex (campaigns are cross-channel, content-centric, and more integrated with other digital marketing programs), measurement is emerging as the most crucial component to social strategies.
Earlier this week, our CEO Adam Schoenfeld broke down what we’re calling the third phase of social marketing.
The first phase was focused on listening and understanding the conversations going on with your social audience. Phase 2 added engagement to that listening, with tools emerging that allow brands to respond to and engage with their audience in real time. Phase 3 adds a new layer of sophistication to the process, complimenting basic listening and publishing with measurement and analytics that let you truly understand your owned profiles, earned activity, and paid efforts. This phase addresses the growing complexity in the space, allowing you to analyze and report on your cross-channel activity, competitive landscape, and content performance.
As we’ve spent more and more time discussing this trend with friends, partners and customers, we’ve come across several quotes from expert industry analysts who are drawing similar conclusions about the importance of measurement in the social space. According to Altimeter, “The average enterprise-class company owns 131 social media accounts, while as many as 13 departments — from marketing to HR to legal — are actively engaged in social media.”
This will only continue to expand as social continues to penetrate different components of our digital lexicon. But don’t take it from me…listen to the experts:
10 Quotes About the Future of Social Analytics and Measurement
Measurement will emerge as its own category of social technology. Social depth, relationship and reach vendors all say they offer measurement. But the truth is that they only track user interactions with their tools rather than the business value those tools have created. Likewise, social listening platforms have worked hard to position themselves as measurement tools, but their own data undermines this claim. In the next two years, savvy marketers will demand social measurement tools that demonstrate how their social programs are creating marketing and business success. – Nate Elliott, Forrester
With multiple data types comes increased demand for consistent interpretive standards, particularly as the need to view disparate data sets in tandem increases. We’ve seen the challenges of this with text-based social data but have not even scratched the surface for other data types, or the impact when they are viewed in conjunction with other data sets. Consistent sourcing, transparent methodology and interpretive standards will become a must-have for 2014. – Susan Etlinger, Altimeter
2014 will just be about the improved use of data to drive insight, action and value in a huge number of ways. The last few years have been about putting the systems, technology and people in place. There will still be an ongoing war for data talent but the use of data across organisations will finally become more ‘business as usual’ in 2014. – Ashley Friedlein, Econsultancy
Marketing analytics will only fill its ‘strategic shoes’ by impacting firm decisions, so CMOs will need to work on the use, not just the generation, of marketing analytics. – Christine Moorman, Fuqua School of Business & CMO Survey
Big data and measurement is starting to gain traction. Big data has long been a technology discussion, but I’m starting to see more and more inquiries about how firms are successfully integrating big data sources into their core consumer measurement techniques. I expect more CI pros to leverage these sources to further understand customer affinity, in conjunction with their behavior. I’m authoring a measurement vision doc (due out in late October, early November), which addresses the future of consumer measurement and how firms should use different data sources to learn more about their customers. Hopefully, the content will shed light on how to further advance your measurement and insights. – Tina Moffett, Forrester
Data processing at massive scale is only now becoming realistic. And data about our wanderings around the web exist on hundreds of random site servers. Data management platforms and exchanges arose to do the piecing-together, and today more (usually anonymized) information is available to marketers than ever before. This will only get better. – Martin Kihn, Gartner
If you’re a business, the takeaway is that sharing without analytics is essentially useless, that engagement is not as valuable as insight, and that seeing things in context is more important than being popular. – Brian Solis, Altimeter
Using quantitative methods is rapidly becoming not an option for competitive advantage, but rather – at the very least – barely enough to keep up. Everyone needs to understand what’s involved in analytics, what your particular organization needs, and how to do it. – Neil Raden, Constellation
While experiments can fly under the radar for a short term, without having a measurement strategy, you run the risk of not improving what you’re doing, justifying investments, and the appearance of being aloof to upper management. To be successful, all programs (even new media) must have a measurement strategy… – Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter
Smarter use of data will help marketers respond faster – and better – to business challenges. Don’t just focus on Big Data; think about shifting emphasis to ‘smart data’. – Noah Elkin, eMarketer