The biggest question marketers still ponder over today – How to best measure social media effectiveness for business.
This past summer the AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) held their 5th European Summit on Measurement. The AMEC is the global trade body and professional institute for agencies and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research. This one was entitled Unlocking Business Performance – Communications research and analytics in action.
AMEC has recently launched the Social Media Measurement Framework Initiative to help to minimize confusion, better educate global practitioners in the right approach to social media measurement and offer the industry far more transparency.
As we approach 2014 social media models and frameworks will continue to move from standard social media definitions and metrics to robust social media measurement across the business.
Valid Metrics Framework Example
The Valid Metrics Framework, which can be found on amecorg.com, is realized in eight matrices that have been applied to the following types of campaigns: Brand/Product Marketing; Reputation Building; Issues Advocacy/Support; Employee Engagement; Investor Relations; Crisis/Issues Management and Not-for-Profit, Social/Community Engagement.
In the example below, three phases have been defined to reflect a simplified breakdown of how PR works: The messages or story is created and told; the story is disseminated via a third party/intermediary, (such as journalists, influencers or bloggers); and, the story is consumed by the target audience, which leads to changes in behavior and business results. These three phases are thus reflected in the Vertical Axis of each matrix as follows:
- Public Relations Activity— Metrics reflecting efforts in producing and disseminating messages.
- Intermediary Effect— Metrics reflecting third-party dissemination of messages to target audiences.
- Target Audience Effect— Metrics showing the target audience has received the messages and any resulting action-driven outcomes.
The horizontal axis then reflects what is commonly known as the Communications or Marketing Funnel with five stages: awareness, understanding, interest/consideration, support/preference and action.
When using AMEC’s Valid Metrics Framework matrix, your goal is to move diagonally across the matrix, from top left to bottom right, ending with some solid “actions.” (Download at amecorg.com.)
Within each Matrix, suitable metrics have been grouped to help you demonstrate a campaign’s success vertically (from simple activity to output and outcome results) and horizontally (through the five communications stages). The goal is to move diagonally across the matrix, from top left to bottom right.
It all boils down to your objectives and what you are trying to accomplish. Once you’ve defined all that, simply follow the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework instructions:
- Choose the grid that best fits your campaign.
- For “PR Activities” just count your efforts. For example, for “Content Created” you might count number of tweets, number of posts, number of videos, etc.
- For “Intermediary Effect,” review the matrix ideas and choose what works for you. For example, for Reputation good bets are key message alignment, endorsements, retweets/shares and linkbacks.
- For “Target Audience Effect,” review the matrix ideas and again, choose what works. If surveys are needed, online polls and DIY approaches are cost-effective, and website activity can be a great proxy.
Now, let’s look at how the Valid Metrics Framework applies to Social Media Marketing.
Here is the framework showing the proposed social media marketing model, integrating the Programmatic/Channel/Business concept. AMEC refers to this as the Social Media Valid Framework.
Here is that same version with Program, Channel and Business Metrics shown.
Here is the second alternative. It uses the same model, but this time the phases are Paid, Owned and Earned. AMEC believes this format may work best for integrated campaigns that contain elements from each of the three areas.
Here is the Paid, Earned and Owned version with metrics shown:
There are two primary ways to use these frameworks:
- In measurement planning to capture the totality of a measurement strategy and plan and ensure a proper balance of metrics across the model and phases. For example, assuring you have sufficient levels of programmatic and business-level metrics and don’t rely too heavily on the easier to capture channel-specific metrics.
- The other use-case is in evaluating a current measurement program. The framework may be used very effectively to show the ‘before’ situation (plot current metrics in their proper place on the framework) and ‘after’ situation (show recommended metrics in place and contrast with ‘before’).
- Start by creating a blank matrix and plotting your current measurement measures to see where you are focused, and where you need to grow.
- Don’t make yourself crazy by measuring too much. Choose a couple of solid metrics in the most important phases of your program that are affordable and manageable.
- Finally, put your new measurement plan into another blank template and see if it shows progression toward the bottom right corner. If so, you are on your way.
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