Monday, July 19, 2010

Measuring Results in Social Media

Online marketing is a bit different from other forms of traditional marketing because of analytics. The fun part is launching your campaign and watching what happens instantly. Within online marketing, email marketing is probably one of the most matured fields where parameters defined already. Deliverables are well defined, industry standards are pretty clear. And if you don't follow the rules, consequences are pretty clear, too.

Social media marketing on the other hand is still a new field. People are still trying to figure out what works and what really doesn't. Social media analytics not very clear yet but numbers matter a great deal. There are the easy ones that you can measure like retweets, forwards, mentions etc. Social rules which are generally "nice things to do" for someone which are easy to figure out but the technology still has to be perfected for tracking.

Just because social media is the new kid on the block doesn't mean old school ways of online marketing doesn't matter anymore either. SEO is still important, you should still take a look at unique visitors and click through rates, time spent on site etc. You need to get these things right because they are the foundation of your whole online marketing strategy. The tools for measuring your SMM campaign are out there but some things are still experimental, not defined like email marketing. Personally, I like a lot -- it also integrates nicely with Wordpress. Trendrr is pretty cool and is worth a look. And I really like the stats that SocialMention gives out -- it's fantastic for monitoring reputation in the social media sphere.

I've been disappointed a bit with Google though. They just launched analytics for email marketing, which is integrated, but I have a sneaky feeling that it's still a bit experimental. I'm sure they're still developing social media analytics but who knows when they'd launch it. Analytics need to be in one complete package instead of having people run around looking at three or four different sites, tools and software. It's too time consuming, the main job for a social media strategist is to be able to analyse the numbers.

And of course, if you have funds, you should check out Omniture and Web Trends -- the two grand daddies of web analytics. Both of them have integrated their analytics software with real time social media tracking. But it will cost you a pretty penny. What are your favorite social monitoring tools? Which ones would you recommend?