Insights / advertising

Metrics & Methodology: Get Social Media Analytics Down to a Science

Paid social metrics are where the rubber meets the road on social media marketing. There are plenty of qualitative arguments for including paid social in your digital marketing strategy, but ultimately, its success must be measured and quantified. Content is the art; analytics are the science.

In spite of the many oversight and measurement tools available through the leading social platforms, capturing and condensing useful information is trickier than it looks. There are rules, exceptions, and idiosyncrasies in the behavior of both the medium (e.g., back-end applications and algorithms) and the population of each social network.

Although posts, tweets, views, likes, follows, pins, comments, click-throughs, upvotes, reblogs, shares, favorites are important, they’re typically viewed as vanity metrics. They look good on the surface, but are they really achieving your goals and objectives?

The important part is to measure what matters. What matters is up to you to define. Is it ticket sales to an event? Attendance numbers at an event? Sign-ups for a contest, or perhaps new email subscribers? All of the above (and more) must be integrated into a unified vision before you can derive much valuable insight from the raw results of your paid social activities.

At Mason, we subscribe to metrics standards that create order from the chaos by first defining the answers to some key questions:

  • What content and channels are included within a paid social strategy?
  • What is the timeframe being measured?
  • How is the data collected – automatically, manually, or a hybrid of both?
  • Does the analysis look at all content, or just a representative sample?
  • How are key metrics calculated for reach, engagement, influence and opinion/advocacy?
  • How is sentiment coded, automatically or manually?
  • How is irrelevant content (bots, spam, etc.) filtered?

We also strive to reconcile the variation in language and terminology, like the difference between impressions and reach, or engagement and conversation.

We can better serve our clients when they understand what we’re talking about, and when terminology and methodology are clearly defined. That’s why these standards are an important part of the service we provide them. Our clients know we’re not just throwing around the buzzwords they expect to hear in connection to digital media metrics.

Results typically don’t speak for themselves. They need a translator. Questions about paid social and how Mason can help? Call us at 203.393.1101 or submit an inquiry through our site.

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