Social Media Measurement: Product Launches Pt 1

Measuring the performance of a corporate social media event can be a pretty tough job to tackle, but it is something that is essential to do. Knowing where to start and what to measure can be a bit of a challenge. At Adobe, we track and measure all of our social media initiatives/campaigns and have developed a categorical system for selecting and reporting on metrics; this helps us stay consistent and (relatively) sane.

  • Volume metrics are what we consider to be the low hanging fruit; metrics that can be easily collected using automated tools. Generally consisting of only numbers, these metrics don’t always contain very actionable insights; but they often provide the wow-factor that comes with large numbers
  • Conversational metrics get into the deeper analysis of what is being said and generally have to be pulled manually
  • Conversion metrics tie social activities directly to web site activities and the bottom line. More specialized tools are needed for these metrics

For this post, I’ll go over the volume metrics and how we used them to report on a recent product launch.

We are seeing the socialization of corporate communications play an increasingly greater role in many product launches. Ford shook up the auto industry when it decided to reveal the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook rather than at an auto show, which is traditionally the place to launch new car models. Just a few months ago, Cadbury revealed a new candy bar using Google+ as the primary communication driver. Adobe is no different and social media played a big role in our launch of Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud. For a large campaign like this one, we will include all three categories in our reporting. However, depending on the size, type, and goals of other campaigns, we often choose to omit one or two.

With any of the categories, the first step is to make sure you know what you are measuring; this should be decided in part by defining your business objectives and considering who your audience for the report will be. We have found that engagement metrics are very useful for social practitioners to drive the day to day strategy, but executives and other stakeholders are often more interested in volume and conversational metrics that give a holistic view of all the social efforts. For our volume metrics for this campaign, we looked at total number of posts in the conversation, media mix (the platforms on which the conversation is taking place), and the growth of our social media fan base.

As I mentioned above, the volume metrics are those that can be done easily and automatically with most tools. These are good metrics to use for anyone just starting out in the field or with teams that don’t have a lot of resources. Regardless of the tool being used, I have found it best to export the data into Microsoft Excel which enables me to reformat it into charts (some of which I included) that easily fit into our reports. The nature of these metrics also allows for easy comparison with past campaigns or other data, giving a quick reference point for the performance of a campaign. On the volume chart below, I was able to compare the overall Creative Suite conversation (which typically receives 15K-30K posts a day) to the conversation specifically about the launch; a spike driven by the launch activity is clearly visible.

Thanks to these “low-hanging fruit” metrics, we were easily able to frame the success of the social media efforts for the Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud launch in terms of awareness and buzz. We demonstrated that the social conversation around the launch was significant and pushed the normal Creative Suite conversation to a new high. We were also able to show how many new people we added to our social media fan base. Stay tuned: in following posts, I’ll go into the conversational and conversion metrics that we also used to measure this campaign.

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