Whenever a planning phase is imminent, such as the start of a new year or preparing a campaign proposal, a key element is often missed – results and data from the last campaign. If you’re on top of things and managing to review your social marketing data regularly, you’ll have a topline idea about what your next campaign KPI’s will need to be, but in order to really measure success, you need to set your KPI’s using smart data.
At immediate future, we’re about more than vanity metrics – yeah, we know that the Board who aren’t marketers might want to see a “big” number for impressions or traffic from paid social to a website. But what good is that to a serious social marketer who, ultimately, will need to optimise campaigns in order to achieve not just a big number, but an impact on the business?
To set you up for success, here are a few ideas which will contribute to a better understanding of what success is, and how to track it.
Be religious in data storage
When you pull reports from the social channels, keep that Excel stored. Ideally, transfer the core data you’ll need into a summary table and then work your magic (or, ask an Excel wiz) by utilising formulas, charts, hell even pivot tables to really dive into the data. If you get to the end of a year and you’ve got nothing stored, you’ll spend hours you don’t have, to download it all again and may even run the risk that the data isn’t tracked for that long (we’re looking at you, Instagram).
Learn to read the data
Again, you might need to find an Excel wiz, someone with an analytical brain to work on this with you. If you have the luxury, hire someone! Once you’ve got your dataset, it doesn’t take long to plot hypothetical growth on something like your average engagement rate to pinpoint just how many more people you need to reach to achieve it. Lock that down, see if it’s realistic to do it organically, or if you need to secure paid budget.
Judge your success based on sanity, not vanity
As we said, we understand that sometimes the higher-ups need to see a big number. But that big number has to come from somewhere! Equally, don’t compare the cost of digital channels too closely – all too often we’ve seen brands who have been “promised” big impression or click volumes cheaper than they can be achieved through, say, paid search. All well and good, but these two channels sit at different phases of the consumer cycle and have very different behaviour associated with them.
Set your goals to align with the business
The keyword here is “align” – we know that if the business needs to achieve sales of their product, that won’t come directly from social (mostly). So, we’re not saying that your social goal must also be sales, but in this case, we’d suggest looking at how social can contribute to sales at the right point in the funnel. Low penetration of the target audience? Run some paid social to raise awareness in the market = your goal is reach. Brand new product to market which isn’t widely known about? You’ll need some video explainer creative to educate your customers = your goal is view-throughs. It’s got to be about determining where social can add value, rather than expecting it to be a silver bullet.
Set time aside to review and interrogate results
With social media managers more stretched than ever (we know it feels like there are 3 billion platforms to manage!), time is precious. BUT… bouncing from one campaign to the next without really understanding success is a very short term approach to marketing, and, for many, it’s a very expensive way to do things! Don’t set and forget your paid campaigns, then just ask for the same budget again next month, build the analysis into your monthly action planning.
We can’t ask marketers to be amazing copywriters AND analysts AND stay on top of trends AND have an eye for photography, AND, AND, AND… we know. But when it comes to brands spending money, especially in a challenging market, there isn’t any to waste, so reporting and analysis is imperative.
If you’ve got questions or need our help, you know where we are!