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Measuring the economic value of social media and your webpage

Measuring the economic value of social media and your webpage

How effective is social media at driving traffic to your website? How much money do you make from advertising when readers get there?

Answering these two questions is key to developing an effective online business strategy. It's simple, isn't it? That's why we have Google Analytics and Chartbeat and we monitor social media referrals...

Well, yes, that's a good start - but have you thought about other ways of measuring social media and online metrics?

Firstly, let's talk social media. As Econsultancy.com points out, there are certain myths that need to be dispelled when analysing the potential success social media can offer a news organisation. Firstly, the click through rate is not god. Repeat: not god. Sure, analysing the click through rate from social media site can be a useful indicator of whether a page is proving more of less popular, but in fact the click through rate from Facebook brand pages with100,000 fans is only 0.14% . This is not a large number.

Does this mean it's not worth all the time and effort it takes to build and maintain an online social community? No.

The world of social media metrics could do with taking a page out of the old-fashioned TV advertising book, Econsultancy.com argues. The effectiveness of advertising via legacy media is far more difficult to measure. It's hard to quantify the direct and indirect effects of handing people paper pamphlets or even broadcasting a television advertisement, yet despite the relative difficulty in quantifying the effects of these advertisements - companies invest in these advertising tactics all the time. Why? Because traditional advertising recognises the value of soft metrics.

Soft metrics are all those things that are inherently difficult to measure and television advertising plays on them a lot. TV ads want to raise brand awareness, to create a brand image or change the perception of/increase loyalty towards the brand. These kinds of audience reactions are difficult to gauge.

At present, when analysing social media, many companies rely on hard metrics alone - a list of which can be seen here. Why? Because numbers are easy to measure - and they are useful - that's why we have Google Analytics and Chartbeat and we monitor social media referrals... BUT social media does not only directly refer readers to your site, it will increase all the soft metrics mentioned above, plus it will increase customer advocacy for your brand (ie people will tell their friends about it... )

Secondly, let's talk web traffic. Website traffic is also another area where users' direct access to a page is the sole metric via which advertising companies judge where to place their money. Traditional web metrics dictate that if a page gets a high number of views it is popular enough to be prime advertising real-estate and is therefore a valuable part of the site.

JumpTime is a company that offers a web analytics service which goes against these principles.

JumpTime measures the value of pages not only on their own popularity, but on the likelihood of users being referred from one page to another within the website. JumpTime's analytics have managed to prove that a user-generated section of one publication's website, previously thought to be an economic failure, was in fact highly successful at driving traffic into other areas of the site where ad costs were higher. In effect, even though the user-generated content section was not a great money-spinner in its own right, it was still a valuable asset because it helped the site make more money overall.

It just goes to show that while traditional analytics are useful, when you change the model for your analysis or even take into account new variables, like soft metrics, you may end up with a completely different conception of how effective your social media strategy and your website actually are.

Sources: Econsultancy.com (1), (2), Mashable


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Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-18 18:31

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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