Just this week, the American Marketing Association (AMA) published a summary of a recent McKinsey Global Survey of marketing executives showing that while most marketers agree that their online presence is important and that digital tools provide their companies with a major opportunity, few are taking the structural steps required to benefit from selling online or engaging consumers through new technologies such as social media. Indeed, most respondents indicated that companies are still trying to figure out how digital media can meaningfully improve their bottom lines – a.k.a. what is the ROI?
Marketers know that their brands need to be present and engaged in social media. And even though North American and European consumers seem to be less open to engaging with brands in the social media space than people in developing markets (according to the recently-launched TNS Digital Life Study), marketers are learning that it is HOW they engage that drives the interest and engagement level with their audiences. In other words, it’s not just a numbers game – it’s not just about getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible, but it’s often about micro-relevancy, driving deeper engagement and, if possible, building advocacy.
As Beth Comstock, CMO and SVP of GE, said in the Advertising Week CMO panel, “We talk a lot more about micro-relevancy, moving from massive reach and getting as many eyeballs as possible to now, with social media and targeted technology, getting to the right people, the right targets. In some cases, where we have a strong B2B constitutency, maybe its 40 radiologists. It’s about reinventing how we describe success. It allows us to be much more surgical and targeted.”
But how do you measure the real effect? There are all sorts of spurious metrics being used such as Twitter reach – when it’s impossible to track just how many followers see and consider a message. The standard business lunch chatter seems to center around the likes of Klout, Peerindex and other nominal measurement tools. While Klout score bragging rights may be entertaining when it comes to an individual, these measurement tools are not robust enough to satisfy CMOs’ needs to provide the sort of ROI that they can on their other marketing investments for their brands.
Social media consultancy Sociagility, a new kid in town, has launched a new tool that seems to provide a more comprehensive metric, a ‘social brand value’ ranking. Its “PRINT” is an assessment methodology that examines Popularity, Receptiveness, Interaction, Network and Trust across multiple platforms. The idea is to provide brands with an assessment of their social profile and performance, i.e. their ‘social footprint’, and it allows CMOs to compare their brands against named competitors or benchmark brands. That’s making real progress. In fact, Sociagility has just released a ranking of the world’s most valuable brands to reveal a global ‘social brand’ Top 50. Check it out.
The drive towards more meaningful analytics for social media will undoubtedly continue to blaze into 2012.
Regardless of the ongoing battle over who “owns” social media – the CMO or the CCO, social is about to get a lot more crunchier.