The Social Media Analytics webinar I’ve had this week with the AMA was a great success, generating a lot of interesting questions (you can review the webinar recording here). As a follow up, I wanted to share ten key questions and answers from the event. I regard this as critical information that anyone venturing into social media analytics should have. So here goes:
1. What is an impression?
An impression is an exposure to a marketing campaign, such as when an end user views a display ad on a third-party website or opens an email message. We can count each occurrence like this as a single impression. Advertisers may compensate publishers for delivering campaign assets on a thousand-impressions basis (CPM).
2. What is attribution?
Attribution is the practice of assigning some credit to one or more marketing campaigns in return for their relative contribution to a subsequent user behavior. An example of attribution is identifying the portion of last month’s sales that were influenced by an email campaign within a 14-day window. Since web visitors today are exposed to multiple campaigns and interact with companies and brands over multiple website sessions, attribution informs businesses about how different marketing channels and campaigns influence subsequent behavior. Attribution can look both backward or forward in time, leverage different logic (first-click, last-click, average clicks, and custom weighting), and extend different time periods (same session, one day, one week, one month, etc.)
3. What is view-through traffic?
Typically, web analytics looks at click-through traffic. This traffic pattern involves end users who actively click on links embedded in marketing campaigns (such as display ads or links in email messages) and consequently land on the advertiser’s website. The advertiser then analyzes click-through traffic to determine the effectiveness of their referring sites. The click is the method by which the advertiser ties the marketing campaign to the user’s website behavior.
View-through traffic ties impressions (mere exposures to marketing campaigns) to website visits and behaviors, whether those visits occur within the same session of the impression or in subsequent sessions. View-through traffic allows advertisers to quantify the uplift gained by merely exposing users to the campaign, even when users do not click from the campaign on the advertiser’s website. An example of view-through traffic is a visitor who sees a display ad on a third-party website on day one and arrives at the advertiser’s website via a paid search campaign on day two. View-through credit should be then attributed to the display ad for engendering the visit.
4. What is Coremetrics Impression Attribution?
Coremetrics Impression Attribution is an ad-hoc reporting solution that helps optimize impression-based marketing initiatives and justify their budgets. Businesses can analyze and demonstrate how campaigns across the Internet influence website visitor acquisition, conversion and retention. The solution accompanies campaign assets, such as emails, display ads, widgets, rich internet applications, syndicated videos and more. It provides data that helps businesses determine the effectiveness of these assets, test different asset variations, justify their investment or discontinue their operations. More information about this solution is available here.
5. What is the impression tag and how is it used?
The impression tag is a lightweight direct image request tag that Coremetrics clients use to identify exposures to media assets served across the web and link them to subsequent website visits and behaviors. Marketers deploy the impression tag independently on their own properties (e.g. on a separate micro-site or in an email campaign), by working directly with publishers (e.g. deploying a tag on YouTube), or by requesting a behavioral targeting network to deploy the tag on the advertisers’ behalf. In either case, the impression tag is served alongside the media asset when a browser renders the web page that contains the asset. Clients then build ad-hoc reports using Coremetrics Impression Attribution to attribute credit to those impression-based campaigns.
6. What is social media analytics?
Social media analytics quantifies the role that social media initiatives play in influencing website visits, behaviors, and conversions. Ideally, social media analytics accurately attributes credit to social media initiatives for their impact on key performance indicators, such as sales, orders, conversion events, page views, sessions, and so on. The critical test of social media analytics is in its ability to expose complete and actionable data that facilitate budget allocation and marketing mix decision making and action.
Basic social media analysis looks at click-through traffic from social networking websites. While this analysis provides some value to marketers and advertisers, it does not account for view-through traffic; i.e. it does not attribute credit to social media initiatives that influenced indirect traffic. Coremetrics Impression Attribution offers both click-through and view-through traffic analysis.
7. What types of measurement do not constitute social media analytics?
Brand monitoring – the quantitative and qualitative tracking of customer sentiment, communication and engagement with brands on social networking websites – does not constitute social media analytics. Similarly, overlaying social media activity data on web analytics data does not constitute social media analytics. In neither case is there direct and reliable attribution of website visits, behaviors and conversions to distinct social media activities. Such solutions, therefore, cannot expose complete and actionable data that facilitate budget allocation and marketing mix decision making and action.
8. What social media analytics solutions are currently available on the market?
Coremetrics Impression Attribution is the only true social media analytics solution currently available on the market. Integrated with the Coremetrics Continuous Optimization Platform and powered by Coremetrics Lifetime Individual Visitor Experience Profiles, it is the only solution that offers accurate attribution of visitor behaviors and conversions to impression-based assets and campaigns, using consistent, business-impacting metrics.
9. Can credit be attributed to social activities that include reading and writing user comments, such as on Facebook or via Twitter?
The short answer is no. Social media analytics aims to track, understand, and optimize social media initiatives by exposing complete and actionable data that facilitate budget allocation and marketing mix decision making and action. In support of this approach, Coremetrics Impression Attribution was designed to accompany specific campaign assets, such as emails, display ads, widgets, rich internet applications, syndicated videos and more. The solution provides data that helps marketers determine the effectiveness of these assets, test different asset variations, justify their investment or discontinue their operations. It was not designed to monitor brand sentiment or user comments on standard social networking websites. Clients developing widgets and rich internet applications that facilitate user feedback can embed impression tags to capture this type of data.
10. How can the impression tag be deployed on YouTube?
YouTube partners have several ways of deploying Coremetrics Impression Attribution: they can incorporate the impression tag directly with the movie during the upload process, fire the impression tag when leveraging the YouTube API, or through YouTube Advertising.
Read this white paper for more information about social media analytics. And please drop me a line and let me know what you think about social media analytics in the comments section.