Metrics are the pulse of your social media program. They provide insight into what is and isn’t working, and are essential for developing an effective strategy. However, current metrics are far from perfect, and there’s plenty of room for improvement and innovation.
Here are five predictions on what the future of social media measurement will bring:
A return to simple metrics, especially for reporting
Clients tell us they routinely delete reports from social media measurement vendors without even reading them. The reason? Too many confusing and irrelevant metrics that make no sense in relating to key objectives. Moving forward, we believe there will be a demand and return to simplified metrics – a few key metrics clearly aligning with marketing goals to provide actionable intelligence.
Metrics that focus on quality over quantity will become standard
Not all data is created equally, so expect to see a shift towards prioritizing metrics breaking down the overall quality of posts. An example of this is a metric summarizing the overall engagement rate per post, or an additional metric examining the percentage of posts falling within key engagement rate ranges.
Tracking trends across social media platforms will be the next frontier in tools and analysis
Knowing where your audience congregates and conversates is key to building an effective social media strategy. Tools that can compare frequency of topics and trends across a suite of social media platforms will prove invaluable to social strategists in the future. This category of tools could provide guidance when it comes to developing custom-tailored messaging for individual platforms, insights into which platforms to prioritize as communities wax and wan, and potentially discern where a competitor’s key audience resides.
Tools and social data will continue to require rigorous analysis and vetting
If someone tweets “Wow, great job @brand”, but attaches a photo or screenshot of a less than ideal experience, do you want your social media tool counting this as a positive brand mention? Extensive human interaction with the tools and careful vetting and analysis of their data will continue to be necessary to produce reliable and meaningful results. Tools crunch numbers, but people provide the insight.
An all-inclusive measurement tool for earned media, social media, and content marketing efforts will remain elusive
Many companies these days seek an elusive “holy grail of tools” or “single source of truth” – one platform that accurately tracks and measures earned media, social media, and content marketing efforts. In our opinion, this tool doesn’t exist yet. Yes, there are many platforms claiming to provide this comprehensive view. However, we have yet to find one that isn’t terribly flawed. Typically they will excel in one area, while lacking depth in others. The one perfect tool will likely continue to be elusive for some time. So, instead of investing in a budget-breaking platform, consider investing in a media measurement expert. It will be well worth the effort.
Thea Roberti is Offleash’s chief research analyst, providing competitive analysis, industry research, media analysis, social media research, marketing channel analysis and influencer research. Contact Thea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie Kerr is a creative content strategist driving Offleash’s social media team, which provides creative strategy, management, measurement and analysis of social media programs for clients. Contact Katie at email@example.com.