Subscribers to the TweetReach Pro service are always innovating when it comes to measuring Twitter campaigns for their brands and clients. And, the good folks at ISM Search & Social are certainly no exception.
Welcome Dan Naylor, resident scientist and Services Director at ISM to a new edition of TakeFive with TweetReach. Tutored in behavioral science, Dan gets shamelessly excited about the convergence of audience analysis, creative thinking and client ambition and we’re thrilled to have him share his thoughts on social media measurement and the fine work ISM is doing with their clients.
TweetReach: Welcome Dan! ISM is an integrated digital agency – you not only do social media strategies for your clients, but also SEO, mobile, affiliate marketing, and other campaigns. How have you seen your clients approach Twitter as part of their overall digital strategy?
Dan Naylor: ISM exists to influence online behavior of specifically defined target audiences. We try not to distinguish our campaigns by the channels and focus on defining the target audience, mapping the location of the available audiences and creating content that convinces the users to move from where they currently exist to our clients’ channels. The individual job of each channel naturally presents itself as an obvious candidate during the process of building the campaign strategy.
However, Twitter enables us to interact with any existing social conversation (that’s on Twitter). We can approach the target audience directly, or through influencers should the brand have low credibility within the target audience or subject area. In addition, the inherent frequency of Twitter means we can move through the gears very quickly. Both factors ensure that, for now, it is our most powerful outreach channel.
TweetReach: And, how important is measurement in the social media strategies you put together for your clients?
Dan Naylor: Without measurement any performance is open to interpretation and since most people have an opinion about social media, we prefer not to leave the measurement of performance to interpretation. Ultimately, if we can’t measure a specific activity we either remove it from the campaign or invent a new measure. However, while we pride ourselves on an analytical approach to digital marketing, we are clear that measurement data is only evidence that we delivered the campaign objectives. In putting together the social media strategies for our clients we are clear that a complete understanding of the campaign objectives is just as important and the majority of the measurement data stays in the background, until the client wants a deeper understanding of the progress.
TweetReach: What metrics are most important to you? How do you measure engagement?
- Exposure – the number of occasions content has been delivered
- Reach – unique people to whom content was delivered
- Engagement – interaction with the content
- User journey – click-through
We try to measure all channels using a channel-specific version of the four metrics above, mostly to better assess how individual channels are contributing to the overall user journey. We measure engagement specifically as a measurable interaction with the content. For instance, for Twitter we simply measure mentions. A mention is the first measurable interaction with the content and the result is either additional reach if that mention is part of a retweet, additional mentions if a reply, or a click if the user has moved to one of our other channels.
We have also been developing our click tracking systems to provide better social attribution modelling to better reflect a user that moves between channels. Ultimately, we have moved away from the measuring status (likes, fans, followers, etc.) and now track activity.
TweetReach: Let’s talk about the measurement of reach. How do you weigh the importance of the quantity of a campaign’s reach (the overall size of the potential audience) vs. the quality of that reach?
Dan Naylor: Quantity vs quality is a debate that will never end; it is as old as marketing itself. In Twitter the relationship between exposure, reach, engagement and click-through all give indications of how the audience is responding to the content. For example, if exposure and reach numbers are close together over time the content is consistently reaching new audiences. If they are far apart, tweets are repetitively being delivered to the same audience. In both cases the engagement and user journey metrics will indicate how the content plan should be amended in real-time.
TweetReach: How do look think about the mix of different social media platforms when designing social media campaigns? Are you trying different approaches with different networks? How important is measurement with each?
Dan Naylor: We are constantly evolving with the channels and adapting campaigns as new channels and audiences converge — remember MySpace? ISM is focused on organic growth so I exclude the additional advertising opportunities that exist in each channel; we consider advertising important but a little like cheating. The type of brand, target audience, speed of impact, budget and any integration with non-social platforms governs the ideal mix of channels.
Twitter is the only channel that is universal in all of our current campaigns. We use Twitter to identify, outreach and engage with target audiences, especially if the audience is new to the client. Since Twitter users are seeking information we find Twitter to be the most efficient channel at seeding content and driving traffic to additional channels. The relative open approach of Twitter to performance data and the relative low production cost combines to enable us to test fast and then roll out conclusions to slower moving channels with higher production costs.
TweetReach: Can you describe one of your more successful social media campaigns? Were there specific goals your clients wanted to achieve and how did they do? How important was measurement to the campaign’s success?
Dan Naylor: The best example of using existing Twitter networks to greatly increase the reach of our client brand in new audiences is our work for Mercedes-Benz in the UK. We were asked to increase the younger audiences exposed to the brand. We identified current owners of Mercedes-Benz cars with large existing followings and existing profiles in younger audiences. Initially by @messaging the target influencers we sparked organic conversation about their vehicles. For the first 6 months of 2012, from a Twitter following of 35,000 we averaged reach (unique Twitter ids) of over 1,500,000 per month and exposure consistently in excess of 5,000,000 deliveries. The organic outreach activity contributed to increases in Twitter and specifically Facebook communities over the period and drove significant traffic to other Mercedes-Benz campaign activity.
TweetReach: Thanks for your thoughts, Dan!
Dan Naylor is Services Director of ISM Search & Social, a specialist digital agency in London. At ISM, Dan is responsible for strategy and content delivery across the agency. A graduate of marketing and behavioral science, Dan’s career started client-side, rising to C-level communication and marketing positions. Whilst managing overall marketing budgets, Dan recognized that customers weren’t responding to traditional channels as they had done previously. Dan began focusing on digital marketing and audience behavior in 2006.
Dan moved agency-side in 2010, determined to help remove corporate management silos that he believes continue to stop social media fulfilling its potential as a business tool. ISM helps clients segment and develop their digital audiences, pioneering an approach to mapping social connections to influence behaviour and produce seamless User Journeys. ISM advises corporations including Mercedes-Benz, Arcadia Group, Jaguar Land Rover and AIG. Dan is shamelessly excited about the ongoing potential of digital marketing and the convergence of quality data, creative thinking and client ambition.
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