2010: Online ROI – a challenge for companies
The solution to the following question is complex: How should companies measure online ROI in future? In times of display, affiliate and search advertising the measure of success has been kept very simple. Page impressions, clicks, leads, sales – that was it. With the evolution of social media the topic of online measurement has become more complex.
In the Pre-Web 2.0 era, there was a formula that has put everything else into the shadows. It was based on the clic. Obviously still many CMOs see this as the crucial measurement factor of their online activities. The click was considered the basis of the digital marketing manifesto.
The formula of the previous online ROI went something like this…
Page impressions and clicks to convert click-through rate that generates leads and ultimately (hopefully) sales.
And this formula also corresponded to the value in the online marketing of cost-per-mile (CMP), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-lead (CPL), cost-per-sale (CPO). Simple, clear, pragmatic.
Marketers were satisfied, the sales man less (mostly) due to inferior leads and associated fluctuating revenues. There was a lack of transparency. The management is considered to be overstretched. 2010 everything will be different.
In 2009, the main German association for publishers and buyers, the IVW, killed the power of the page impression, the visit is the ‘Golden Surfer’ from now on. An English study by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) is following and strengthens the effectiveness of the ‘silent click’ and the value of the content and context.
Moreover Eyeblaster invents, and especially Dean Donaldson promotes this, the Dwell Time. Efficiency measurement of web activity becomes a challenge for companies. And if we take it to the top companies do need an eye-movement study to measure the time-based attention, the way we know it from the print era (similar to copy-test).
Another challenge is that there are numerous social media activities added, and here we are looking for a reliable measurement method to justify the expenses. In Germany the Association of Social Media and Social Media is quickly introducing a new currency: share of voice or share of buzz. A conceptually coherent model , but in practice is questionable in its feasibility, management and marketing relevance. A similar measure as the CTR won’t be found in the social media industry, probably still for a long time. Probably not even 2010…
Let’s illustrate the complexity of measuring social media ROI at a viral campaign, the buzz generated by social media coverage and results. Previously, the click was relevant. It was a unique short-term assessment without measurement of long-term effect. With the ended of the campaign the measurement time was over. Whether the click came from the desired target group of bookers ranked in it’s relevance secondary.
In a viral campaign, however, due to the target-transparency, the question of efficiency measurement is completely different. All these values are quite different in context and only win in their semantic and concluding statement its relevance for the advertiser.
Questions arise such as …
How much time commitment gives the user his social activities and the commitment to the company?
How do I rate detailed comments on blogs, micro-blogs or social networks?
How to evaluate an Re-Tweet in this context?
From whom are the comments and actions coming?
How does buzz spread via this person and to whom?
How relevant is the target audience about the distribution for the advertisers?
How to integrate ratings in the measurement methog on video- or evaluation platforms?
What about the statements that I can not even see, because a front door at Social Networks is obstructing my access to the results?
Without individual-subjective definion of measuring units, each company, every Social Media ROI measurement is worthless, and social media marketing measurement fortiori. The metric must be defined in the relevant context of the desired outcome best possible – in other words the individual needs of the corporate strategy or intention of each social media activity has to be adjusted from case to case. Increase in visits to the website? Generation of Fans or Followers? Couponing on a community? Knowledge on brand confessions obtained? Or actually generate online sales?
Each profile of an active social median, its social graph, in its sustainability and its recommended value of inside and outside “of his” social community has different weight. Determine where the true relevant measurement is the responsibility of the advertiser. At the Webcific I have called the new monetary views as “cost-per-commitment” to provide the relativity of the word in question and to make clear the relevance of the word, but for the future.
Commitment begins with the communication to customers and does not stop when clients order at the company’s shop. However, maintaining the commitment of campaign spending via email or traditional online activities still is essential. As customers loyalty runs outside the social media spheres, too. Defining commitment as a measure of social media may be based different on the company blog than on Facebook or Twitter.
A crucial factor in the social web is always forgotten: Traditional marketing campaigns have a beginning and an end. That’s when Social Web communication starts…
The CPI formula in times of social web might be …
Reach and engagement convert to social activities that lead to multipliers, and (probably generate) revenues from sales.
The future of online ROI measurement should be driven on the basis of how much communication output must a company deliver through a variety of social media, until the customers brand promise is gaining credibility and creates customer communications. This leads to commitment, which I have just referred to as “social activities” that need to be defined. They are the drivers of the talks for the multiplication of messages from the public relations, marketing and sales department.
Measuring the Social Web ROI is a long term process. Metrics from shares, posts, comments, ratings or Tweets replace the old click-metric. For the new metrics remain the web’s property, thanks to social search integration. Communication is dynamic and it may be that the pure bookmark result of yesterday, generates many social activities and conversations tomorrow.
Who dominates social communication that generates brand-vangelist peers (as I always like to call it). From anonymous platforms users become now fans, followers, blog readers and community members. They all have names that are transparent, a huge advantage of today’s web-talks. In the decisive moment, when they start participating in the discussing companies can find important multipliers of the message of a brand or a company, and therefore define important parameters. But companies should remember that communication can take place anywhere and adjust according to their web strategy. This modern weaving culture should incorporate engagement metrics or policies between sales and marketing. Otherwise, the effort of monitoring, measuring, analyzing is worth nothing, and will not meet the result of the challenge of 2010.