Social Media ... Where's the ROI?
Milner is working on a SEO and SEM analysis, but says the Answerology sections of the Hearst sites index well.
4. Use the Analytics and Metrics Available
Many online experts laud engagement as the new metric for social media, but there is not yet an effective, standard way to measure engagement. “We’re really pushing for engagement, and we’re trying to find new metrics to do that … but I think that’s going to take the industry some time,” says Domenic Venuto, senior vice president and head of media and entertainment for Razorfish.
“There are a lot of things that can be measured right now, some that are more worthwhile than others, but I think that it’s very fair to say industrywide that people are still just getting their arms around [social media],” Sherk says.
As marketers and publishers fine-tune social media and engagement metrics, publishers must use available tools to gauge performance. For example, Wellman suggests using statistics such as the size of groups on social media platforms; the number of comments on articles; time spent on the site; number of page views; number and direction of links; and other on-site activity, such as the amount of discussion between users to generate a rough engagement metric.
Using these measures, he says, publishers can deliver a clear metric and demonstrate growth in those areas over time.
Milner says that the number of conversations with consumers an advertiser can engage in over a set period of time is an example of an engagement metric within Hearst’s platform. He believes marketers will more likely want to spend on a definite number of engagements with their target market on a site like Answerology, before paying a cost-per-thousand (CPM) for advertising on networks like Facebook, where their users are interacting with each other and not with the advertisers’ brands.