Earlier this week, I explained the concept of micro goals in regards to social media and why it's so important to track such a large collection of seemingly insignificant numbers. I walked you through both the universal micro goals and how to establish campaign specific micro goals. Today, it's time to look at how those numbers can be of value to us over the span of a social media campaign.

Looking for What Works and What Doesn't

The single biggest benefit of tracking things on the micro goal level is the ability to quickly identify the areas of your campaign that are performing well and the ones that aren't. Micro goals are all part of the wonderful world of metrics and each of them acts as a clue in the mystery of campaign results.

Making sure each of your metrics lines up carefully with your campaign efforts and goals will go a long way toward equipping you with the information you need to refine your campaigns.

Finding Problems within a Campaign

Let's say you've just launched a new piece of viral content on your blog and you've pushed it out via social networks. The content is aimed at educating your target audience about a new product offering and does it via a creative and entertaining video you've hosted on your blog.  You launch the content, seed it with influencers and watch the traffic start rolling in.

Traffic spikes and sales don't just stay flat, they drop. What happened?

If you have established and kept tabs on a set of micro goals for your blog, the story may tell itself. On the surface, the campaign looks strong. Traffic, links, social mentions are all up, leading your team to celebrate with nice graphics like this:

goodmetrics.gifBut if you dig a little deeper and look at all of your micro goals, a different picture begins to emerge:

blogmetrics.gifDespite the uptick in traffic and links, we see a distinct decline in engagement related metrics. Time on site has dropped, the number of pages per visitor has dropped, comments are down and less people are converting. Each of these micro goals matches up with a drop in sales.

It's also enough data to make us go back to our campaign and ask ourselves what might have led to this combination of metrics.

Match What You Know with What You Planned

In this instance, we can go back to the original campaign idea and look at it from the perspective of the metrics. There was clearly interest in the video because we see a rise in traffic. The content clearly resonated in terms of word of mouth, because we see strong numbers of social shares and a nice increase with links.

When we take a second look at the content, however, we might realize the $250 price point and the fact that it's an add on accessory to a $700 piece of electronics gives us a naturally small target audience. That means that while the video we've created has broad appeal, we're not focusing in on our targeted audience. For our next campaign, we'll want to focus more on the specific needs of our target audience and focus less on getting a broad launch and more on reaching into targeted communities.

Variations in Metrics Tell us Different Tales

Of course different metrics on your micro goals might help you come to different conclusions.
Let's say the video was for a brand new cell phone battery extender that cost $20, fit on a key ring and delivered an extra hour of battery life to a phone. This is the type of product nearly anyone can use and the price point qualifies it as an impulse buy. In this case, perhaps our metrics look something like this:

blogmetrics2.gifYou'll quickly notice our metrics are up across the board with the exception of our conversion rates. We've got moderate increases in links, traffic, social shares and comments. We've got zero movement in our conversion rates. We've got a very strong increase in time on site and pages viewed per visitor. This tells us something. On the surface, everything looks good.

The problem here is that a huge jump in pages per visitor and time on site simply does not mesh with zero change in sales. There's simply no reason why an increase in targeted traffic that has demonstrated an interest in the product via their use of the site wouldn't result in conversions. This means we need to go back and look more closely at the site itself.

More than likely, the issue here is about usability. Ask a friend to watch the video and take action. You might be surprised to find out they can't locate an order now button or they're hunting for shipping prices and giving up in frustration. A few quick fixes to your interface may result in a sudden jump in conversions and a slight decrease in time on site and pages per visitor.

You Can't Fix it if You Don't Know it's Broken

Of course the above examples are only looking at the micro goals for your blog. This same type of examination in other social media outlets and even across the board for your campaign can often give you a completely different perspective on the success (or failure) of your campaigns.

Stop looking solely at traffic or conversions to determine the success of your campaigns. Sometimes it's a lack of RSVPs or a dramatic increase in social shares on a specific network that clue you in to the changes you need to make. Either way, if you aren't gathering data, any decision you make will be based on your best guess rather than supported logic. Take a look at your campaigns and dig deeper into the metrics of you campaign. You may be surprised at what you learn.

July 23, 2010

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


Hi Jennifer
My comment isn't specific to this article, its more I have a number of related questions which could be a topic for another article. I manage three different websites for the same owner and I'm not sure how to go about creating Facebook, Linkedin etc company profiles without have them attached to me as an employee. My thinking is that if I leave the company there needs to be an easy transition to another person administering everything. Your articles on setting up Facebook pages are excellent but don't explain the one thing - do you need to set up a personal profile first? Or do I use one Facebook account for all three business? or create a different facebook account for each email address I use (using different ones for each company?). I've also come across this in claiming our business in various directories. I'd love to know how you manage different businesses. thanks.

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