Web Metrics | Search Marketing
Site Strategy

"In a nutshell, Jason created our marketing analytics capability. He was able to figure out what data we collect, where it is, what was missing, and hook it all up so we canget meaningful, actionable data. Our marketing efforts have improved leads and conversions in some cases by an order of magnitude. He knows his stuff."
Chris Foleen, Marketing Project Coordinator, TransCore, Inc.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Measuring Social Media's Value -- A Simple Twitter Test

The value of social media seems to be a huge question.  Some people are evangelists.  Some people are skeptics. Some are on the fence.  Some are "gurus".  Some are full of [poo poo]. 

The reach of social media seems to be the best part of its promise.  If you tweet something and 50 people see it and some retweet it and 50 people of theirs see it, and some of them retweet it, etc. etc., you could get your message out to thousands of potential customers!  It's so efficient that its almost like a dream come true.

But the truth is that it seldom works out that way.  In fact it seems like there are reports or metrics showing up all the time that dispell the social media nirvanna so many marketers were hoping for.

I got to thinking about this, and one aspect of social that doesn't seem to come up often in articles I read or reports is the time aspect of social.  You can tweet something and all of your followers will get that message.  But they will only get it for so long.  And if they are not online when it is sent, they will not get it at all.  This really really limits the impact of social media in ways that I don't see anyone accounting for. 

A Little Test 
I am not the most prolific twiiter user by any means.  For the purposes of this test, I wanted to see how long i would be exposed to my own tweet.  This is primarily determined by the number of people I follow.  The more I follow, the more incoming tweets I'm going to recieve, the more quickly things will slide off my screen.

I follow 50 people on twitter.  This is apparently not uncommon, although I could not find any definate stats on what the average number of following was. 

Here are a couple things I found:

June 2009:   92.4% of Twitter users follow less than 100 people

March 2010:  An active or “True” Twitter user has at least 10 followers, follows at least 10 people and had tweeted at least 10 times. By that definition though, only 21% of Twitter users are active users.

Average = 398 following
slide 15

So, I am going to guess that I am around average for the number of people that I follow on Twitter.  Given that, here is what I found:

I sent out a tweet today at 3:55pm.  It took 1 hour and 3 minutes for it to reach the bottom of my screen.  Now, if I have 50 followers and they are all about average like me, then my tweet has a maximum potential of 50 hours of exposure. 

This seems pretty good.  However, this is a bit disingenuous becuase these are simultaneous hours.  At the time my tweet hit the network:
  1. Not everyone is listening.  Take some percentage right off the top.
  2. Some of these people will be following many more people than I do.  They will have less than one hour to experience my wonderful tweet.
  3. Some days and times of days are more active for twitter than others.
The concept of simultaneous hours is pretty important and really puts the kabosh on the notion of the value of a tweet. 

"Time to Conversion" -- A New Social Metric?
One interesting metric to come up with would be "time to conversion".  You could optimize for this by calculating how much time exposure you need in the social space before someone actually buys something from you. 

Using "time to conversion" you could figure out:
  • How many tweets to send
  • When to send tweets to get maximum exposure time
For example, say you did some math and figured out you need two thousand hours of twitter time to get one sale.  Then you could baseline it and test against it.  Requiring less and less "time to conversion" would represent good optimizaiton, increased social value, and real  marketing savings.

Also, if you figure in the labor costs of coming up with however many tweets are required for 2000 hours of twitter time and put that against the value of a sale, then you have the makings for a real ROI from social media.

"Time to conversion" might be a strange way to see the value of a tweet, but I bet with some further thinking it could be valuable.

No comments:

Post a Comment