The State of Twitter Metrics: Social Media Stumbling Block?March 16th, 2009 by Matt Thomson
Since I’ve begun talking about twitter analytics, I’ll just keep on keeping on. After all, it’s the most greenfield thing out there right now and it’s interesting to speculate on which metrics will come to rule the roost. In Despite Recession, More Than 50% of Marketers Increase Spending on Social Media, Sarah Perez from ReadWriteWeb notes that social media spending is on the rise. Of course it is; that’s about keeping up with the Joneses. But in paraphrasing the shiny, happy report from our Forrester friend and prolific tweeter @jowyang, Perez drops a bomb in the third-to-last paragraph.
Perez notes that the firms currently funding social media marketing “experiments” - yep, that’s the word she uses - by scraping together the remainder of their discretionary budgets are actually doing themselves a disservice. Why? Well, because they haven’t thought about how they’re gonna measure success. In other words, telling your manager that you drove 123 new followers with your social media campaign might not cut it. Now, that’s not to say that adoption isn’t a good statistic; I think it is. But a better way to tell that story is to figure out how much each new follower contributes, on average, to your company’s bottom line. Even if it’s not an airtight number.
Just for kicks, let’s review three of the most notable “success” stories of Twitter thus far. Note that anecdotal evidence is still the primary piece of evidence and that the word brand is used a whole lot more than in direct marketing disciplines.
@zappos - This is the most obvious success story to me. Basically, Tony Hsieh is an engaging dude and really gives you an idea of how cool Zappos’ culture really is. Essentially it looks like: CEO Cool = Company Cool = Shiny Glow on Brand. Now, I’m not sure whether or not Tony has a solid ROI for his company’s Twitter literacy (they hadn’t as of Why Zappos is into Twitter) but at this point, Twitter is a reputation enhancer first and foremost for Zappos.
Motrin - Now the A1 cautionary tale of how the Twitterverse can rake a brand over the coals, Motrin famously shot themselves in the foot with an apparently misogynistic ad and then exacerbated the headache by allowing the Twitter echo chamber to fuel its own ire over the ad. Again, we know that the Motrin brand took a hit due to palpable anger. But did Motrin really lose money? Uncertain. Worse yet, the only lesson in the Motrin case is an admonitory one: don’t let consumers talk angrily about your brand without intervening. This’ll lead to a protectionist social media strategy, no more.
@DellOutlet - Here is the relative Kraken of the bunch. Dell Outlet has moved beyond “engagement” as their social media war cry because it has been able to drive direct revenue from @DellOutlet (about $1 million according to Dell). Of course, this is chump change for Dell. But as a precedent for whether or not Twitter can drive revenue, it’s a seminal case.
That’s all I’ve got for today. In my next post, I’ll rap a little about the analytics that @sarahintampa discusses: share of voice and engagement.
As a parting shot: Should this tweetVolume metric mean anything to me? To Zappos, Dell, or Motrin?
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