Who Says Social Media Can’t Be Measured?

Posted on June 26, 2008
Filed Under Marketing 2.0 |

I always find it revealing that, for all the hype about social media as a marketing medium, the most vocal proponents of its virtues seem unusually ill-equipped to answer basic questions about the claimed successes of social media campaigns.

For instance, the individuals involved with one social media marketing campaign claimed that 200,000 people were driven to an amusement park in Texas. Yet, in response to , the marketer behind it was unable to answer basic questions, such as “How many people did your campaign reach?”, “How many people visited the website you set up?” and “What methodology was used to determine how and where theme park visitors found out about the ride you were promoting?”

At times, I question whether I’m losing my mind. After all, in a day and age when web analytics tools make it easy to measure traffic, track where people are coming from and follow conversions back to the source, it seems like there are few technological barriers to applying such tools to social media marketing campaigns.

Apparently it’s harder than it seems, but fortunately somebody .

That person is E-consultancy.com CEO Ashley Friedlein.

Knowing what the average website visit delivers to E-consultancy.com in terms of revenue, E-consultancy.com engaged in an online marketing campaign with a social media twist. The goal was simple: drive more traffic and receive more “love” from Google, already a source of valuable traffic.

The total cost of this campaign was estimated at around £10,000.

The results?

A 558% ROI looks great - on the surface.

But Friedlein recognized that there was one problem. There was no way to quantify how much of the SEO improvement was generated by links resulting from the social media campaign.

Since E-consultancy.com actually sells things, he decided to look at how much of the £112,000 in sales during the campaign period were actually referred by social media websites. The answer? A less-than-staggering £2,400.

Interestingly, every one of those buyers also checked E-consultancy.com out on Google before purchasing.

Friedlein concludes that the campaign was “worth it” but that it was “quite a bit of work” and that much of the value was “tangential.”

He called it “good-ish for traffic” and “less good for sales” and at the end of the day, discovered that Google is far more important to his business because it not only delivers more visitors to E-consultancy.com, but also delivers higher-value visitors.

Frankly, this is the type of fair and balanced case study that social media proponents should be providing. It doesn’t misrepresent what social media marketing is capable of offering and is honest about the fact that, like all forms of marketing, there are limitations.

As I recently :

Believing that they have something revolutionary, social media consultants and companies tend to oversell what they have but few are smart enough to pull off such overselling.

In other words, they’re running a Honda dealership but trying to pretend it’s a Ferrari dealership.

They can either continue down the path of denial or do one of two things: start selling Hondas or start selling Ferraris.

E-consultancy.com’s social media marketing campaign demonstrates that social media proponents should be running with the Honda pitch: decent fuel economy at a decent price. But if you’re expecting to accelerate from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, you’re looking at the wrong car.

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Disclosure: I write for E-consultancy.com. I was not involved with the campaign and case study discussed above.

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7 Responses to “Who Says Social Media Can’t Be Measured?”

  1. Don’t Treat Web 2.0 Like Web 1.0 on June 26th, 2008 9:50 pm

    […] Your Awesome Traffic Now!” style marketing. I was checking out Drama 2.0 today, and he was commenting on how Web 2.0 pundits (presumably of my ilk?) can never seem to pin down the hard benefits of a […]

  2. Online Marketing and Web 2.0 on June 27th, 2008 2:35 am

    No doubt, traffic from social media can be count by analytics whether you are using Google analytics or any other but can be reduce bounce rate that traffic which is coming through socially? Online marketing or in the age of web 2.0, we can say age of Social media we can introduce and advertise our product but relevancy of that traffic can not be guaranteed.

  3. Sam B on June 27th, 2008 3:41 am

    Sometimes you wish you had the commentary that presumably went with the presentation. Like when a picture of Jerry Maguire is followed by a blood-spattered hatchet and pair of scissors for no apparent reason.

  4. Pop goes that bubble, but it is not social media : Social Media Mafia on June 27th, 2008 7:57 am

    […] is a familiar story now.  Some people, Drama 2.0 being one, equate ROI with immediate numbers.  Get me page numbers, etc.  Others, are looking for […]

  5. More Social Media Stupidity : The Drama 2.0 Show on June 27th, 2008 9:56 am

    […] My post yesterday led to a response by Mashable’s Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, which led to some amusing displays of social media stupidity that I felt worth sharing on this beautiful Friday. […]

  6. Social Media, Metrics, and Misnomers « Context is Content on June 27th, 2008 3:06 pm

    […] Comments Mark Hopkins over at Mashable adds to the worth of social media conversation started at Drama 2.0 today with this fantastic point: The traffic isn’t really the goal of a good effort so much as […]

  7. Social Media in the Inc. 500 - Promotional Bullshit Masquerading as Research : The Drama 2.0 Show on August 21st, 2008 9:08 am

    […] There are skeptics and there is no shortage of companies detailing their less-than-stellar (and more-than-realistic) results. Those relying on social media spending and social media fanboys seem to know […]

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