So, What About Results?

This week my reading focused on the problem of metrics for social media marketing.  Among all the items that I read, there are three that I would like to share, the first of which, Opinion:  Measuring ROSS,opinion-measuring-ross.aspx , by Hari Shankar, appeared in ‘Campaign Asia-Pacific’, on November 24th, 2011.  Mr. Shankar is the Asian-Pacific Director at Performics  (/, a search engine marketing organization headquartered in Chicago.

So, what does the acronym ROSS stand for, anyway?  Well, ROSS stands for Returns on Social Spends, with ‘Social Spends’ signifying the total dollar investment a company ‘spends’ in social media.  From a recent survey, Mr. Shankar revealed the astounding statistic that 37% of respondent companies were unable to measure the value of social media to their organizations.

In the article, he proffered three critical questions for organizations to posit in evaluating the performance of their social media marketing efforts:

  1. Did you get their attention, and give them something of value?
  2. Did they talk about you, and ‘pass the word’ along?
  3. Did it affect your bottom line?

Mr. Shankar breaks these three questions down into simple metrics that apply to almost any social media platform.  The golden metrical concepts, according to Mr. Shankar, are:

  • Chatter rate
    • The number of responses, comments and posts
  • Propagation rate
    • The number of:  re-tweets per tweet; shares per post; share-clicks per action (posts, videos, etc.)
  • Popularity rate
    • The number of:  likes per post; +1’s per post; favorite clicks per tweet and per video

For actually measuring results, though, Mr. Shankar suggests even a site as basic and well known as Google Analytics, specifically Web Trends, is good for getting the numbers.  But, first, it’s good to know, isn’t it, the right questions to ask?

The second article, Measuring Social Media ROI:  3 Things to Consider, appeared in ‘Mashable’ on November 15th, 2011, contributed by ‘Mashable’ regular Erica Swallow.  Ms. Swallow’s recent story is actually the coverage of a presentation made by Hal Thomas, the content manager at BFG Communications (, during the Direct Marketing Association’s 2011 conference (

Mr. Thomas, Ms. Swallow writes, made 3 key points:

  1. Social media is the vehicle, not the destination
    • Social media represents potential
    • Take action, convert prospects into transacting customers
    • Social media is the starting place
  2. Listen and apply what’s learned to every department
    • Listen to the conversations
    • Apply the information across your organization
  3. Performance metrics are media agnostic
    • Different departments measurement of success are based on specific goals and metrics

The last article, Measuring Social Media, My Mantra is . . . ‘Measure What Matters’…-‘measure-what-matters’-094901 , was written by Michelle Carvill, the Owner and Marketing Director of Carvill Creative (  It was published in ‘Business 2 Community’, an online media, communications, branding and PR publication, on November 22nd, 2011.

According to Ms. Carvill, in approaching metrical analysis of any social media marketing efforts, there are five key points to keep in mind:

  • Social media should focus on delivering the objectives of the business
  • Have absolute clarity about the objectives, so you can measure the impact of social media
  • Measuring likes and tweets . . . if those metrics don’t matter to the end objectives, you shouldn’t be measuring them
  • The business should be measuring impact toward the business’s objectives
  • What you measure will depend upon the objectives you’ve set, and may differ from team to team within your organization

As Ms. Carvill sums it up, no matter how many tweets, re-tweets, likes, posts, views or whatever that your company’s social media marketing juggernaut may be racking up, if those metrics aren’t relevant to your bottom line, if they aren’t relevant to your objectives, then, well, you’re not really measuring impact, you’re just measuring activity.

What I Think About Measurements, and Social Media Marketing

The measuring of social media marketing results helps companies measure the effectiveness of their plan towards their organization’s objectives, and its effect on the bottom line.  Are they using the right channels to engage their audience?  Is the message on target?  Never mind the dazzling potential of social media; that potential can only ever be a starting point – nothing more!  A company’s marketing plan must eventually drive the audience to a point of action, whether it be a website visit or a sales transaction.  Counting the number of likes, tweets or views are measurements of activities; what organizations really need to know is how those activities translate into fulfilling their social media marketing plan’s objectives and goals. Measuring the results of social media use in marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want.  There is no correct, universal set of tools as of yet.  In the end, using a number of metrical tools will yield a more objective view of a plan’s performance, and is more likely to yield good results.