STOP, calibrate and listen! Social media measurement needs your attention

…it’s something that grabs hold of my brain tightly, keeps me awake now, daily and nightly. Ok well, maybe not quite, but it does get me thinking a lot….


Joining the dots between teams, countries, platforms and technologies in a bit to marry data sets at scale is a tall order. Everyone we speak to are at various stages of the dot-joining journey, and in an industry where change is constant, there may never be an end destination. But that doesn’t mean we should give up!


So, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about immediate future’s strive for excellence in the field of social media measurement. However, I have no idea why I have done so in the style of a one hit wonder 90s rapper…



 …focusing on engagement rate

Bee in my bonnet alert. Engagement rate is regularly too focal in social reporting. Why shouldn’t it be? Because it is a %. If you are not reaching enough people, who cares if 30% of them engaged? Whilst it is a great indicator, particularly when used in context such as theme, topic or type of content to distinguish one from another it should not be the top of your list. Don’t scrutinise over the metric as a first port of call, save it for the finer detail of your content optimisation efforts.


…over evaluating post level metrics

Our best performing post this month got 350,000 Likes, 738 Comments and 1400 Shares. Great. But what do you do with that information? There are so many variables that could have made that post successful and anecdotally in context of all of the content you post then you can learn from it. But aggregating the data will provide much richer insight, for example, understanding the aggregated view of all post that feature that particular style of image vs those that favour another style will help to inform the style of future images. (see collaborate with common language below)


 …building reports for the sake of it

There is a hell of a lot you can measure in social. And reports can look pretty complex and you can make yourself feel quite clever in amongst all of the data. But focus on deriving actionable insight, which means focusing on building reports around what you and the business cares about. Let’s face it, no one reads your weekly 25 page PowerPoint weekly report do they?


…saying YES to everything you get asked to measure 

Stand up for yourself for goodness sake. You know it’s not worth it and it adds value, so get educating, push back a little. Otherwise you end up with the problem above.


…isolating social media from wider marketing metrics 

Take some time to understand what other teams’ measure. Of course, this could be teams beyond marketing too. Lining up your metrics with neighbouring teams will help the collective data analytics effort. How can you create insight that serves as a good indicator for other departments? Perhaps separate those out and report for them individually? If you a B2B focused you’ll probably be measuring through “the funnel”. In the land of consumer you will be looking at a range of metrics that line up to various points in the customer journey as well as a whole host of brand metrics. Speak to your colleagues, sketch it out on paper, re-think what you do a little… a little tweaking can go a long way!


…focusing on referral sales as the only way to prove an ROI

It is not the only way to ladder back to ROI. Sure it is the route to direct business revenue. But do you know the complete, absolute ROI of your TV or traditional press activity? NO. You look at uplift, you look at cost to reach and engage metrics. When I was on the panel with Jag Sharma from Mondelez he talked explicitly about how they proved the efficiency of social to reach & engage vs TV to justify budget switches. I also know a Mr Jerry Daykin has a viewpoint on this too…



…your tools

Once you have lined up your social media measurement with wider marketing and business metrics it might be time to look at whether you have the right tools and technology to match. Or whether the reports they are spitting out add the value that your carefully thought through plan will.


Much to the dismay of social technology business development managers everywhere, one tool is not likely to solve all of your measurement needs. And in general, the technology is not the answer to your problems. Not the first answer anyway. So, remember, STOP before your COLLABORATE.


…your language, make it common

You have probably heard the phrase “context is everything” or similar thrown around before, but it really is everything when it comes to effective measurement. Matching the language of your business to your measurement framework is a vital step in delivering useful insight to the business. Let me explain with a little example or two…


Many business are using an editorial style calendar as a planning tool, particularly where content marketing is concerned. No doubt there has been some work put in to themes, topics and messaging that you will be focusing on too. So, match up your social data with these and topics, using the common language set out as part of the content plan to play back its effectiveness (reach, engagement, click-through-rate etc.) will help to build an understanding of which of these key themes and topics perform better.


Another example might be in relation to how the business organises itself. If multiple teams are playing into the social channels you are measuring, then splitting out key social metrics by the department/team/campaign (in again, in the common language used to describe them) will help the insight resonate in the business.



To your audience?! To what your customers are saying?! Oh come on, you really thought I was going to say something as chocolate fire guard as that?!


Listen to your colleagues. Listen to the stakeholder groups across the business. What are their KPIs and metrics? What do you they want to see from social and how can you match it up for the greater good? Do they read your current reports? Why not?


Getting together with your colleagues to work through the questions above will help to that will help craft a measurement framework which will see you deliver insight that lands in the business; hopefully you will also save time by trimming down what you already do, to the metrics that matter.


Do all of the above and you’ll be like a poisonous mushroom, deadly! (at social media measurement).


Check out my hook while the DJ revolves it. Peace out

Image source – Youtube

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