Expion CIO Albert Chou hosted a webinar alongside marketing strategist, speaker, best-selling author and Convince & Convert president Jay Baer. During Strategies for Cross-Channel Communication, Chou and Baer discussed the challenges and tactical solutions for measuring success across channels.
More and more marketers want to develop a singular strategy for measuring success across social channels. But with the constant addition of platforms worldwide, and especially with the boom of channels like Weibo in Asia, it has becoming increasingly difficult to know how and what to measure. Often times, Chou explained, marketers are looking to understand data by based on complex formulas, but not every marketer is a data analyst, nor is it necessary.
So how do we, as marketers, know what’s working and what’s not?
Find “The Common”
Every line of business is different. Products offerings within businesses are different. So it doesn’t make sense to measure data points unique to a product or vertical. To standardize outcomes, marketers must be keenly aware of “the common:” commonalities between metrics and actions, representative across a business.
“Certain metrics are only appropriate for certain channels. That makes it tough to measure across channels if all the metrics are different. You really need to find out what’s common and what’s worth measuring.”
Chou cited examples like profit margin, production cost, and revenue per hour of labor. Metrics that cannot be standardized are unique, like market size, competitor share and turn time. Chou did note that typically, it’s the overall managers that require common metrics, while specialists like supporting a single channel generally require more unique sets of data that drill information down by product and vertical.
Identify Your Common Outcomes
Joined metrics, like favorites, likes, and shares, mean commonality. Each action translates into a common outcome. Marketers need to think about the fundamental mechanics of these actions.
In an example of measuring engagement across channels, the two suggested that marketers focus on what actions mean across platforms. For example, a “like” tells brands what customers are passively interested in, versus a share or retweet, which means a customer is taking a brand’s message for what it says and choosing to make it his or her own media. These actions, Chou and Baer said, carry more weight. It’s up to the marketer to determine which actions matter to the business.
Create Standards Across Channels
Chou and Baer warn, however, that chasing outcomes across platforms recklesslessly can lead to new challenges. “Unless you’re getting more resources, you’re going to have make some sacrifices. There are just too many channels.”
To determine the value of a channel, the common action needs to be identified. It’s taking these commonalities and creating a glossary that standardizes how to talk about outcomes across channels that is key to measuring success. These formulas, based on a business’s KPIs, help educate the brand team on expectations and create a common language that allows for applicable learning across an organization.
Chou demonstrated with an example from Expion client Mondelēz International. Chou explained how Oreo lifted reach with just one geo-targeted post. Once Mondelēz marketers identified their most valuable actions, they were able to share pieces of content that were doing well across regions based on those metrics. Oreo thereby lifted reach for several days across markets, without having to produce any new content.
Understand Your Revenue Factors
One of the most common questions Chou and Baer receive from marketers: How can I optimize my social marketing efforts while controlling costs?
First, Chou says, brands supporting social must understand there are costs involved. “You can make people work harder, but you’re essentially not recognizing your own costs. There are real costs there: opportunity costs and actual costs. You need to calculate what your participation in a new channel is actually costing.”
Brands need to be honest with themselves to understand if they can truly support a new channel. Chou referenced a simple equation brand marketers can use to determine if they can afford the increase in cost to support a new channel:
It’s also important to understand how your costs will impact your outcomes: will your outputs per dollar of cost improve? Will your costs net you a greater output? Will you have to sacrifice marketing resources from other channels? Answering these questions will greatly improve your marketing resource allocation and optimize your efforts around social.
Reconsider Your Reporting Method
Says Chou: “You don’t need a data scientist. You need a trend.” At its core, social performance measurement comes down to one essential question: is your brand doing better or worse than before you started your marketing effort? Looking at trends rather than reports will give you this answer and provide “now” information you can use to make business decisions.
But it’s not just the information that marketers should be rethinking. It’s the way team members are consuming the information. Chou pointed out that different levels in organization need different data points, because they think differently about the business. A brand manager or other operations-level leader requires scorecard reporting, while community managers or other tactical-level personnel most frequently need more in-depth reports with specific outcome information. Added Baer: “Spend the time once to create different reports. It’s a hassle one time, but after that you’re off to the races.”
Brands need to measure inputs versus outputs to really understand the performance and value of marketing efforts across social channels. When marketers find “the common” and standardize measurement based on those metrics, they’ll be able to understand how content is performing and optimize marketing efforts. Chou summed it up best: “Find common ground, standardize it, then share the knowledge and change the trend.”
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