Ep 1: Serious Social – Data is a core component to Social Media success

Ep 1: Serious Social – Data is a core component to Social Media success


Ep 1: Serious Social – Data is a core component to Social Media success

The importance of data within marketing shouldn’t be overlooked. Without it, your social media strategy is likely to fall flat on it’s (inter)face.

In this episode, we’re talking data. Associate Director Belle Lawrence is joined by Managing Director Colin Jacobs as they discuss the data you should be collecting from social media and how to utilise it within your marketing mix.

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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

In this episode, we’re talking data. Associate Director Belle Lawrence is joined by Managing Director Colin Jacobs as they discuss the data you should be collecting from social media and how to utilise it within your marketing mix.


Belle – So, CJ, when we go to conferences, we hear a lot about data in social and it’s being heralded often as a great hope for marketing. Is that the case?


CJ – Is it important and does it have an impactful role? Yes.

Is it this new thing? Absolutely not, it’s been around for years.

Well, obviously, you don’t know what you don’t know, so, I don’t want to sort of come across condescending, but I find it bizarre. There’s a lot of agencies, too many agencies that claim to be social media agencies and they’re only just opening their eyes to data, that is wholly wrong.

So yes, very important, but no, it’s not this new great thing. You should have been using data for years to inform your marketing mix.

It’s the great thing about social, isn’t it? I mean, a number of us have worked in other disciplines whether that’s traditional marketing out of home, TV, public relations. The beauty of social is there’s a tangibility to it.

You know instantly the eyeballs that have seen it versus those that haven’t.

There’s none of this, ‘well there’s an opportunity for 200,000 people to sleepily cross the road and look at this billboard’ – there’s none of that in social media, which is great.


Belle – So, what can we track in social?


CJ – Yeah, a really good question.

There’s a number of metrics and there are vanity metrics and there are sanity metrics. And I’m going to split the two, because there will be a number of people watching this that will go “Woah, a like is no sort of metric in marketing!”

Well you’re right, but you’re also wrong. The vanity metrics, likes, engagements, video views, yes, they are a bit, “Look at us we’ve done some great things.” But if you’re not getting the vanity metrics your content’s not resonating with the audience.

So, you need some of the vanity to give you the “You’re doing the right thing.” If none of your content is getting vanity metrics you’ve got a lot a change that you need to make pronto.

But once you’re delivering that you then need to move on to the sanity metrics. Where you’re starting to measure your share of voice the equity your brand’s holding your position within market and there are some sophisticated tools that you can do this with.

Some of the viewers from traditional media will know that you can go and get Nielsen reports. And they’ll show you whether you’ve moved on from 5% market share to 6%. But within social, there’s a lot that we can get organically.

And what we mean by that is data out of the channel Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, whatever the latest app is that the kids are playing with. But there’s also some sophisticated data we can also collect through what are called pixels.


Belle – And that’s site-side data.


CJ – It is. But collected within Facebook.

So, if you think on what we do, whether you look at the marketing loop or the funnel the aim of most social marketing is to top up the funnel and get people looking at the product or service, right? So, you’re generally driving from social to a third-party location whether that’s your own website or a point of purchase. Yes, you can buy in social now with some commerce tools, but largely you’re driving to a location.

So, you want to know, who has clicked out of Facebook and who’s landed within your webpage. And if you got a fallout point, where is it? Why is that? If you’re hooking people in on an advert and they’re landing on your landing page and they’re going, “That doesn’t talk to me, I’m abandoning”, there’s a disconnect between your messaging, or you’ve got your targeting wrong. But either way, the information informs what you’re producing and doing. So, whether the data is good or bad you’re learning something.

But nobody should just be posting on Facebook and going, “Look at the likes.” There is far more to it.

And there’s some sophisticated stuff as well. You can get into what’s called attribution modelling and you can actually look at recency effects the ability for us to remember something. Has a user gone back and sought an advert? In a 7, 14, or 21-day window? If you’ve got your attribution windows open, you can start looking at that data. Now that’s super-sophisticated and I’m not advocating anyone starts there, but it just goes to show, there is a lot of insight that you can get for your marketing campaign that gives you the thumbs up or the thumbs down. And by the way, getting a thumbs down isn’t always a bad thing. Because we need to fail to then figure out the successes, right? And a lot of people wrongly look at bad data as a negative.


Belle – So, we’ve got some pixel data that we can get from within the platforms and the organic data, and then we can look at using things like Google Analytics to get more site-side data.


CJ – Exactly.


Belle – What about how GDPR affects all of this?


CJ – Oh God, this is like asking, “Which way did you vote? Are you a Remainer or a Leaver?” GDPR, is, as everyone will know who has worked in marketing for the last two years, we were bored to death for about 18 months, it’s the new General Data Protection Regulation and this was all part of the initiative to give users ownership of their data. Which is absolutely right, and it has better controls in place as to how businesses process that data store that data, so we can no longer do some of the things of old, Cambridge Analytica Facebook, for example. But, the policy, it can be interpreted one of two ways. You can either do what we call a Ronseal approach, where you do exactly what it says. Or there are others right now who are taking a really conservative stance on GDPR ruling, and they’re now giving, on their website when you land on a website you’re supposed to get asked whether you want to be opted in or opted out of your pixels or your cookies being collected. Can you collect my data? And most of us will go, “no” or some of us will go, “yes” right?

There are brands right now, which have defaulted it to the user having opted out. So, their seeing an advert they’re liking an advert, they’re going to the landing page then they’re being told, “Is this relevant to you? “Do you want us to collect your data?” “No, of course I don’t.” So, I’m sticking with no.

And the conservative stance has seen a lot of business’s data fall off a cliff. And I’m going be honest, I was spooked and well you know about it because I came running to you going “What has happened?”

But once you then look at the barometers you can still attribute traffic to the website. You just now have to make some correlated modelling based on outcome, rather than absolute, site visit, how long they were on the landing page, when did they abandon?

You probably are still getting the traffic but it’s a little harder to be exact when it comes to site-side data now, unfortunately.


Belle – So it is a bit trickier these days than it used to be.


CJ – It is.


Belle – But it can be useful, because we can use it in retargeting, and sequential storytelling.


CJ – Yes.


Belle – So, what sort of things can we get involved in with those?


CJ – These are the areas I get really excited about in social because it’s kind of the Holy Grail of marketing, isn’t it? Taking people on a journey, telling them a story and ultimately nurturing them to a point of transaction, whether you’re a consumer brand or it’s a service driven business. The sequential storytelling, we can actually track engagements on an ad set. We can lift that data and then we can retarget that audience with step two of the story or chapter three, as I should probably say. But the nudge-nurture phase, as we call it and in strategic terms, this is the period from awareness, consideration, to the trigger of purchases as a McKinsey loop famously taught us 15-20, years ago. That consideration phase, that nudge-nurture sequential storytelling is great and if we can hone-in-on the audience that are really loving the content or the product, or the service your likelihood of conversion just goes up. So how you do that needs to feature as part of your marketing mix, without a doubt.


Belle – Definitely. And so, there’s a lot to take in. What’s the first step for people who are looking at their data path and they’re not quite sure where to begin?


CJ – If you’re a pure social media manager right now, who’s thinking, “I like what I’m hearing’.” First port of call is – go and get the data map from your CRM team. They will have one, they will have charted where and how they’re tracking data and where those customer entry points are, and we need to look at the role of social in contributing data to that CRM. Then you need to set about with the basic tracking the vanity metrics that I spoke about. Get some validity that your content is resonating with your audience. Even if you got a few hundred followers you should still be getting likes on your content. If you’re not, either your audience is wrong or your content’s wrong, and you’ve got to change something. Then quickly move on to some of the more sophisticated data that we spoke about. Particularly with the retargeting and the sequential storytelling.

And if you’re using that correctly and there’s plenty of stuff up online about how to do it in Facebook that you can find. You will start to surface tangible data that will go into the CRM map.

That’s important for two reasons. One, you will see the clear role of social and what it’s contributing to the business and how it’s enabling your sales team or your online function to benefit from social as a source. But secondly, people within your digital teams, and the board, will suddenly realise the valuable role of social and that will help you with greater investment. It will also help you overcome a lot of myths that exist out there.

People think that social is the poor sibling and is cannibalising money from PPC and SEO and it’s absolutely not the case at all. In fact, we laud PPC and SEO. But there is a race to the bottom line in industry right now, which is why PPC’s thriving getting those conversions.

But you can’t base your entire marketing plan on bottom line conversion. You need to fill up the top of the funnel nudge-nurture people through. If you rely on those that are searching in Google right now for your product or service, you’re going to do sales, but you’re not going to thrive. If you’re suddenly throwing your net on those that don’t realise they want, or need, your product or service, and you’re hooking them in on tangible stories, that’s only going to supplement your conversion levels and help the CRM team. You will become their new best friend if you’re aligned to them.


Belle – Which is great, and I’m sure lots of people are really interested in getting into this, but with everything there is to think about, I think we know that a lot of people are going to be challenged by resource and how much time it could take, and the knowledge essentially.

So, what would your advice to them be as our final point?


CJ – It never fails to amaze me, the amount of businesses, prospects that come to us with one or two people within their social team about 18 months within the business. It’s the point of which they’ve realised the role of data and the need for it, and the fact that they can’t do it themselves. So, either, learn to delegate some of your roles to free up some time, or go and find a valued partner that really knows data. But please, don’t go to a content agency or a PR agency, that this week has just renamed themselves a content creation agency they don’t know social! They’re going to write headlines. They’re amazing at PR they’re amazing at PR for a good reason they know the public relations landscape. Social media is a hybrid, and it is very technical. There’s a lot of data, you need algorithms and we, as you know, we rely on our relationships as a Facebook partner. Without the input of the partner scheme, we would be just like another agency. So, go and find, find a firm, not necessarily us but of course, I would love you to come over and join us. But find somebody that really knows social and they know data, and they know the technologies. It will make a massive difference to your marketing, I promise.


Belle – Excellent, thanks very much for your time.


If you’re after more know-how to break the social boring, subscribe now and check out the show notes for links to our website and social profiles.