Social media measurement and analytics are essential in helping organizations evaluate the effectiveness of social media programs and their overall social strategy. Measurement and monitoring tools provide valuable intelligence to inform or deepen engagement with audiences, to refine messaging and content, and importantly to monitor, manage or avert crises in the social web. As well, they can be used to track the ROI of social.
Organizarions big or small must leverage these tools for the social insights and opportunities they can reveal, namely to understand:
- The impact of your social media activities – Is there Connection, Engagement, Influence, Action with your target audience?
- What type of content drives deep engagement with social audiences?
- Audience demographics – who exactly is behind all the Likes, Follows, and click-throughs? What are their preferences and aversions?
- Who are your evangelists and opponents, and how might you identify opportunities for conversions, or red flags for social web crisis management?
- Importantly, how to leverage the data and analysis to demonstrate to the Big Boss ‘C-suite’ the value of your social media and ROI.
There are oodles of social media measurement tools available. Selecting the right one can be daunting and will require research and planning based on your budget, goals and objectives. A good place to start is to check out some of the free tools first and see if any are a good fit, before jumping-up to paid services.
Free Measurement Tools: Google Analytics Social Reports, Addict-O-Matic & Hootsuite
1) Google Analytics Social Reports is a tool designed to track many things but their main claim to fame is to help companies measure the ROI and financial bottom-line of social media activities. As explained by Phil Miu of Google Analytics, the tool’s goal is to tie social activities and referrals to revenue so that businesses can evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value. The tool generates an Overview Dashboard and reports for Sources, Pages, Conversions, Social Plugins and Social Visitor Flow.
Features of note:
- Conversions Report: provides insight into which social media sources drive or refer traffic to conversions or ecommerce transations. This can be a boon for organizations looking to measure the ROI of their financial and human resource investment in social media, because the tool measures click-throughs from social activity all the way through to web sales. Conversions are not just financial, they also can be video views, file downloads, or other click-throughs depending on your goals and objectives.
- Social Visitors Flow Report: tracks which social platforms are sending the most traffic to your site, as well as the top landing pages and top drop-off pages. This is valuable information to use if Facebook and Twitter for example are sending you the most traffic versus expensive AdWord campaigns. This type of information can inform where best to spend valuable dollars and resources!
- Social Sources Report and Google+ Conversations Activity Stream: used to monitor social conversations in real-time and identify evangelists. This is a great opportunity for organizations to refine targeted messaging or content for key influencers, and set up specific Google+ Circles for influencer relations.
2) Addict-O-Matic is a simple social monitoring tool that is all about Buzz. It allows you to see what is being said about any brand or topic across all social media sites. After typing in your search query (in my case, Rob Ford) the program instantly generates a neatly categorized page of the search results. You can personalize the dashboard and bookmark your page to revisit at any time.
Features and Benefits:
- Great for monitoring keywords and buzz.
- Addict-O-Matic searches a wide array of social media sites, news sites, blog posts, videos and images and can update by the minute
- You can personalize the dashboard and bookmark your page to revisit at any time.
- Easy to use and I like that it pulls results from both social media and traditional news media.
- Addict-O-Matic however does not offer analytics of the trends, nor any visual summative graphs, charts or reports.
- Does not measure sentiment.
3) HootSuite (Paid and Free options) is a popular tool that can be used to manage and measure social media. It tracks brand mentions and sentiment and analyzes social media traffic including the growth of Likes and Fans and Followers. The free version let’s you run 5 social profiles, run quick basic reports, and run Facebook and Twitter searches. It incorporates Facebook Insights and Google analytics in it’s reports.
Features and Benefits:
- Paid and Free options
- Measures sentiment
- The added benefit of HootSuite is that you can also use it to manage, schedule and post on Twitter and Facebook.
- It is mobile friendly so you can use it on-the-go.
- Reports allow you to get behind the demographics of Likes and Followers, to see who your audience is.
Paid Free Measurement Tool: Lithium
Lithium is a comprehensive measurement tool that analyzes and aggregates social media content from Twitter, blogs, traditional news sites, video and images, forums and comments. Results appear in real-time allowing you to stay on top of issues and competitors.
Features and Benefits:
- Sentiment: Lithium aggregates real-time sentiment and tone of all mentions in the social web.
- Quotes: Lithium generates real-time conversations, so you can respond immediately. This is particularly helpful when monitoring, managing or averting crisis, issues, or dissatisfaction on the social web. This is also helpful for identifying and building relationships with evangelists.
- Buzz: It tracks industry buzz so that you can keep track of what competitors are up to.
- You can save results and share them with your organizational team via bookmarks and saved mentions.
- The price tag comes in at a hefty $1,500 per month (read more here) so it is geared to big wallet companies and agencies. I would love to get my hands on a tool like this to really try it out, but the cost for my circumstances is prohibitive.
Finding the right tool and learning how to effectively use it is important to help you measure and improve your social media performance and social reputation. Apparently and interestingly, Mashable uses 8 measurement tools to track how their company is doing in the social web – as captured by this Instagram