Most of us use it personally, and, in many cases, on our employer’s behalf as we run a full content strategy plan to best market the product or business we’re offering, writes Louise Auty, Content Lead, Beaconsoft Ltd
But how many of us are actually getting the best value out of it and using it in a way which gives the greatest return on investment for the hours we put in? Making the most of social media web analytics is a tricky proposition to get right as there’s an almost unlimited mine of data out there and finding the hidden gems can be time consuming.
Different tools are available for different jobs, but the chances are most people will have at least taken a glance at Google Analytics, as well as the inbuilt data metrics provided by platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the rest.
Every time someone takes an action on a social media platform, a digital footprint is created. Each time someone else reads that content, they’re adding to the footprint and widening its reach. Analysing that trail is where the skill comes in for digital marketers.
Back To Basics
The most important thing to remember is WHY we’re doing the job we’re doing, so make sure you include this as a key point on any social content strategy or marketing plan – tracking the buyers/customers journey is why we’re paying attention to the metrics.
This is the bottom line. Every interaction on social media and on our websites should have the ultimate aim of driving more interest in our brand and/or our product/s. Finding the right Return of Investment for time spent is why we need to make the most of social media web analytics.
The one thing which applies to all companies – and a deciding factor in any strategy – is the resources you have available. Do you have the manpower to use social media as a customer experience tool for example? Or will it only be a marketing vehicle to drive traffic to your website for the purchase of products?
Finding The Right Metrics
If you’re running multiple social channels – a blog, email campaigns, social media posts on platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc – then you need to isolate the right metrics to measure for your business. Use your business goals to define these. Going back to our earlier statement: tracking the buyers/customers journey is why we’re paying attention to the metrics.
If your main business goal is to sell more products, you should be looking at engagement, follower growth, extended reach and email sign-ups.
But not all platforms have the same metrics available. Facebook Insights give you a wealth of data with page level and post level exports but the same can’t be said of Twitter. Other platforms like Instagram don’t give you any more insights than the in-app notifications of mentions and comments.
On top of this, while all data can, and is, measured, access to this data isn’t always free. Analytics programs can give marketers amazing insights but it often comes with a cost. Not only with the sheer wealth of data available – and infinite combinations of metrics and reports to track and measure – but sometimes with a monthly/yearly subscription fee.
Tracking The Data
When it comes to tracking the data, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind. According to HubSpot every analytics statement should have the following:
As you can see in the examples below, each statement clearly indicates the source of the traffic and any segmented data – it gives a value, what the metric being measured was, and the duration of the measurement being made.
In practical terms, this means you should bring as much data diversity as possible into any strategy analysis and allow for variations in the results.
Thomas C Redman, writing in a publication by the Harvard Business Review, highlighted a number of data-driven features which can help businesses to use social media web analytics and data more effectively:
- Use data to allow for more in-depth understanding of your worlds
- Get along with uncertainty
- Recognise the importance of high quality data and invest to improve
- Integrate the ability to understand data with the implications and your intuition
- Identifying the decision criteria can vary depending on the circumstances
- Be good investigators and experimenters
- Learn from mistakes
- Recognise that making a decision is only the first step
The key factor here is to accept that there are variables and the process, even if it’s controlled, can still change. We all know that trying to work out Google’s SERPs and SEO positioning is a law unto itself so bear this in mind. Social media data is especially susceptible to variation as the algorithms which power them are known only to those working behind the scenes.
Secondly, the quality of the data is paramount. High quality data i.e. direct from source so Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, means you’re looking at the same comparable information each time – give or take those pesky algorithms!
As always, apply SMART guidelines to your efforts:
- Specific: Set real targets with a deadline i.e. I want 500 more followers by the end of the year
- Measurable: Make sure they’re trackable goals.
- Attainable: Work towards a challenging goal but one which is realistic. Don’t try to become number one in your market overnight.
- Realistic: Consider what you or your team is truthfully capable of doing and take into account stumbling blocks or hurdles i.e. time or staff availability.
- Time: Keep to your deadline.
It can be overwhelming, and expensive, trying to work out what data you need and which tools you need to have.
It’s Why We Created Beacon
Pulling all this information into a cohesive report is one of the reasons why Beacon was created. One of the biggest challenges we had while running a digital marketing agency was the reporting of accurate and meaningful results back to our clients.
We needed in-depth social media analytics in order to feedback to our clients, and we were very frustrated that we couldn’t find an easy and simple tool to help us do that.Beacon is an analytics app designed to empower marketing agencies and businesses large and small to make the most of their social media strategy, allowing marketers to see the true value of their individual social posts and gain deeper insights into their campaign’s effectiveness.
It gives marketing teams the knowledge and actionable insights they need to run better online media campaigns, with more audience-relevant content and posts, higher social-to-website traffic, and more engagement with content, leading to better results (pipeline, sales, or whatever targets are specified for social media campaigns).
With activity target you can measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns in a meaningful way against 5 Key Performance Indicators:
- Hard bounce rate – measure the percentage of visitors from a social post who bounced off a page without taking any action
- Soft bounce rate – measure the percentage of visitors who interacted with a landing page, but didn’t navigate to another page
- Multi page visits – see the percentage of users who visited more than one page from your social post
- Average pages viewed per visit – learn how many pages your visitors navigated to on average, from each social post
Average time on site – learn how long your visitors from social media are spending on your site
Social media analytics have the power to reveal potent opportunities to increase your engagement. Reference the right data to increase the efficiency of your marketing activities and you’ll start to see true value in your ROI.