As the New Year is off to a rolling start and companies plunge even deeper into social media planning and campaigning, the itchy subject of metrics and ROI will invariably enter the conversation in the conference room – again.
There have been several articles predicting social media metrics for 2011, including one from MediaPost this week. The author, Pat LaPointe, makes some interesting prognostications, including that there will be rapid maturation and predictive value – I agree. Companies are realizing that social media must progress beyond the state of “We set up our Facebook page and now have 10,000 Like’s,” to “What does this mean for the business?” Each business has different goals – just as each business assigns different goals to its marketing and communications departments – but the need to reach or surpass that goal will be very significant in the coming year. Compensation plans will invariably be tied to these goals as well.
Expect more and more case studies on ROI to pop up in your Inbox.
Sure, we all know that there exist both paid and free social media measurement and tracking services. But for the social media practitioner just starting or trying to justify ROI before senior management can approve a budget, what to do?
Some social media monitoring vendors, like Radian6, start at less than $1,000 per month. Others, like Sysomos’ Media Analysis Platform (MAP) and Infegy’s Social Radar, are almost three times this price. Curious to determine why – and moving beyond a toe-to-toe comparison of features — it appears that the more data-rich providers are targeted for the public relations agency or marketing firm that can provide a social media monitoring service as part of its monthly or project-based social media marketing services. What a concept! As such, if you are currently buying or are in the market for PR agency services, ask them if they currently have a monitoring solution, for which you can receive this as part of your service package. It’s clearly a win-win for everyone: the vendor, the agency, and the client.
Mr. LaPointe’s additional prediction of the merging of online and offline will continue – and for some companies, they have abandoned offline almost completely. With the advent of Groupon and Foursquare, even small businesses have simply stopped buying print and outdoor advertising, preferring to invest in the scale, creativity, and tracking delivered by these online services.
In some ways, mobile marketing has become the new outdoor or “out-of-home” advertising vehicle – reaching consumers and end-users wherever they may be – only in a manner that is a lot more efficient and measurable than that of any billboard or bus shelter.