Analytics for Social Media – SMX West 2011

This session aims to answer how you can quantify your social efforts. Chris Sherman starts by saying he’s seen a number of false metrics in measuring social media. The same rules don’t apply in social as they do in SEO. Let’s learn more about that now.

SMX West logo

Moderator: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land


Daniel Lemin, Founder & Principal, Social Studio
Filiberto Selvas, Meteor Solutions
Dilip Venkatachari, CEO and Co-Founder, Compass Labs

Starting with Filiberto Selvas (replacing the original speaker, Ben Straley).

Starting with some data, he is showing billions of pieces of content are being shared online. By 2012, 88 percent of marketers will use social media. The bad news is that we’re all fighting for peoples’ time and attention. Also, the metrics we are using to measure are very primitive.

Is it possible to measure and optimize the impact of sharing? Yes.


  • Enable and track. This is easy with the right tools.
  • Identify influencers and advocates. The social audience is the network of the people touched by any given influencer. Influencers drive 10 percent to 20 percent of site traffic on average.
  • Target and activate them. The influencer is then presented the offer.
  • Analyze. What happened? Where? What message is working?
  • Rinse and repeat.

Must be scientific about your efforts.

SMX West 2011: Social Analytics Panel

Daniel Lemin is up. He is going top talk more about the idea of social sharing. Hmmm – he teaches a social analytics class at UC Irvine. He says it’s hard to teach while things are changing so rapidly.

Best Practices

1. Plan with scale in mind. It’s OK to start manual. How will your efforts scale over time? Some tools won’t allow you to do much more than a manual effort at first. Hopefully if it’s a successful campaign, you can develop and grow. You can’t do manual forever, there’s not enough time. Think about how you can capture data on a larger scale over time. Radiant 6 and Lithium are tools that are good with some things, not so good with others.

2. Don’t abandon your roots. Stay grounded in the best practices of mining for data; tag, code, embed. Some of your search marketing tactics can work for social. Standardize your language: unique users versus fans for internal conversation purposes. Harvest as much data as you can. If you are planning a campaign and you have options for tools that either give you just external referrers or tools that gives you coded campaign URLs, referring sites and platforms, you’ll probably want to use the latter.

3. It’s about people. This is a challenging medium to track. He is talking about the classic marketers purchase funnel right now. He says there is a segment at the base of it that’s missing that represents advocacy (sharing). There’s advocacy involved with people giving recommendation about a product.

How do you measure it?

  • Sentiment/tonality
  • Topics: What conversations are happening
  • Share of voice
  • Number of shares. Advocacy through sharing content
  • Likes/dislikes
  • Twitter influence: Number of  followers times number of tweets.

Dilip Venkatachari is last.

Search is moving to social. More than half of shoppers in the U.S. check Facebook, Twitter and other places before the buy – even before they search. This is a huge opportunity and a new problem. Migrating to a new channel challenges us to learn how to best use it effectively.

How does a merchant find and reach the targeted audience? Ads targeting on social media can be very precise. You can find all the attributes needed for very specific targeting. People are looking for that relevant information.

Delivering conversions on social media:

  • Who are you trying to target?
  • When is the most opportune time? Time, influencers, frequency.


Q: Do you have small business resources for tracking at free or little cost?
A: Facebook provides a depth of information. If you are just running a small campaign, you get low-value data.
A: Daniel says HootSuite just announced an analytics tool.

Q: How do you recommend communicating the ROI of social if someone is looking at monetary value?
A: Daniel: if it’s necessary to have a fan value, ask up front what does it need to be worth to be successful? Shut off other marketing efforts to test something new. See how much ROI it’s giving. Pre and post-surveys can see if there’s a brand lift. If you’re not doing any other outbound marketing, it can be telling.

Q: How do conversion rates compare in SM with traditional search?

A: Dilip: Conversion rates on service-oriented clients hold up well. Travel depends on the segment. The most challenging is consumer electronic products (in his experience). You can usually have a reasonable conversion rate.

Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

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