Social Media Measurement – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting https://www.convinceandconvert.com Sat, 18 Aug 2018 17:16:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cropped-convince-convert_C-orange-32x32.png Social Media Measurement – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting https://www.convinceandconvert.com 32 32 The SEO versus Social Battle Has a New Winner https://www.convinceandconvert.com/baer-facts/seo-versus-social/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/baer-facts/seo-versus-social/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=149868 SEO has pulled back in front of social media as a referrer of website traffic. Jay Baer explains why this happened, why it's unprecedented, and what to do about it when pondering your search and social approach.

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The SEO versus Social Battle Has a New Winner

Social media’s reign as a top source of referred, inbound traffic to websites may be over, according to new research from Shareaholic.

The most recent version of the rolling tracking study that measures traffic sources for more than 250,000 websites found a steep drop in visits from social media. Across more than 400 million visits, the top six search engines sent 34.8 percent of traffic. The top 13 social networks sent 25.6 percent of visitors.

seo vs social media traffic battle chart

Since 2014, search has lagged behind social, but the roles have clearly reversed, and there’s a new winner in the battle between SEO and social media as a traffic source.


For the first time in 3 years, search is responsible for more website traffic than social
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4 Reasons Why Search Is Back in the Lead versus Social Media

There are, of course, many intersecting trends and tweaks at play here, but these are the three primary reasons social is dipping and search is creeping upward.

1. Reduced Use of Social Overall

As I wrote about recently, Edison Research found that Americans are actually using social media LESS, especially Facebook. And given that Facebook is far and away the largest social network, a decline there is significant. (Read 6 Unexpected Trends in 2018 Social Media Research for more.)

2. De-prioritization of Companies and Organizations in Social Algorithms

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all rolled out new algorithms in the past two years that fundamentally diminish exposure for company and organization content in favor of content published by individuals. This probably makes for a better, healthier stream of content, but it certainly impacts the number of clicks that social content can accrue to websites.

Shareaholic data shows a 25.8 percent drop in Facebook referred visits in one year. (I wrote about how to handle this in my article: 9 Antidotes to the Facebook Algorithm Squeeze.)

seo vs. social media traffic chart

3. Less Exposure for Posts Containing Links

Some of the algorithm adjustments in social media have given more reach to video content and, to some degree, photos. Simultaneously, the algorithm gives posts containing links less priority. This also has an impact on click-through traffic—so much so that our community management team at Convince & Convert is testing putting no links in social posts, but instead including links as the first comment.

4. Search Indexing More Social Content

Search engines are doing a much better job of indexing social media content right on their SERPs, making it possible for consumers to click through from search, instead of going to a social network and clicking through from there.

In the same period where Facebook referred traffic dropped 25 percent, visits coming from Google increased 21 percent.

Do Not Sleep on SEO

Smart marketers have paid attention to search throughout social’s rise, but this data clearly show that social’s days as the number one driver of traffic are at an end (and I don’t foresee them returning).

Google is certainly working hard to stay in front, as any decline in their ability to drive traffic is almost an existential issue for them, financially. It would be wise to follow their cue and re-prioritize search in your overall digital marketing plan.

Get Serious About Pinterest and Instagram

Facebook, despite its steep decline as a traffic source, is still the top social referrer. But notice the huge gains made by Pinterest? It’s now a clear number two in social and drives more traffic than every other non-Facebook social network combined. In fact, according to Shareaholic’s data, Pinterest is responsible for nearly half the traffic that Facebook delivers, and among a much smaller user base.

Instagram’s growth is skewed a bit due to the relatively recent addition of clickability on the platform. But the mobile photo/video platform is now tied with Twitter as a traffic source; a tremendous shift given that Instagram has historically been about “engagement” and Twitter has been thought of more as a traffic creator (in addition to its role in conversations and customer service).

Is LinkedIn Next?

Certainly, LinkedIn focuses on its business audience, which makes it relevant to only a subset of the population. But the newfound emphasis on content on Linkedin makes me wonder if it will see a spike in its referred traffic in the next report, similar to what Instagram experienced in this study.

For my own interactions, and the content we create here at Convince & Convert, we are putting more effort into Linkedin than ever before, pulling resources away from Facebook.

This report fascinates me because it is VERY rare in business, technology, and marketing for a lost lead to be regained. Apple was nearly dead as a computer maker and was then resurrected. But Apple has never outsold Windows PCs. Once Chrome took over as the dominant web browser, Internet Explorer didn’t rally back and pull in front again.

What we’re witnessing currently in the fight between SEO and social media for website traffic referral preeminence is nearly unprecedented, and it should make you reconsider how you’re allocating your resources across the full sweep of your digital marketing.

If we can help, let me know.

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6 Unexpected Trends in 2018 Social Media Research https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/6-unexpected-trends-in-2018-social-media-research/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/6-unexpected-trends-in-2018-social-media-research/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 20:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=149465 2018's latest social media research shows that this year may be the one where everything changed in social. Jay Baer breaks down new data from Edison Research about why America is using social media LESS, not MORE.

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6 Unexpected Trends in 2018 Social Media Research

2018 social media research is teaching us at least one thing: This may be the year that social media changed forever.

Released hours ago, a new report from my friends at Edison Research and Triton Digital uncovered a trove of statistically significant social media usage irregularities that may herald a dramatic shift in how and why Americans use social media (or don’t).

The Infinite Dial 2018 report continues the annual research series that consistently produces important findings that describe how we use social media, podcasts, and online audio services.

2018 social media trendsI highly recommend you grab the entire report, as the highlights I cover below are a VERY small selection of the insights contained in The Infinite Dial 2018.

Here are the six extremely important 2018 social media research trends that this report surfaced.

Social Media Usage Is Down Overall

For the first time ever, fewer Americans are using social media than the year prior. Edison Research contacted 2000 people aged 12 and older, using random digit dialing techniques, the same methodology used each year.

In 2018, however, they found that 77 percent of Americans use social media, compared to 80 percent in 2017.

This is a nearly four percent drop in social media usage nationwide. While not massive as a solo data point, remember that social media usage has increased a minimum of three percent, and an average of 7.77 percent, for the past nine years.


{new research} Social media usage in America increased an avg of 7.77% for the past 9 years. This year.....down 4%.
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In terms of what we consider to be the primary “social networks” (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, et al.), we may have reached “peak social media.” It’s likely that we’ll see a subsequent decline in usage in 2019.

This is because young Americans are embracing messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and others, while using the core social networks less. I certainly don’t foresee a massive “extinction event” that would cause a collapse in social media usage, but the migration away from public social toward private social is very, very real.

Any drop in social media usage is unprecedented, and indicates that Americans are not wholly satisfied with social in ways they may have been in the past.

Facebook Usage Is Down Overall

Facebook is the biggest contributor to the overall decrease in social media usage. Last year, more than two-thirds of all Americans said they use Facebook. This year, usage dropped from 67 percent to 62 percent, the first decline in Facebook’s history.

Perhaps the constant arguing (about politics, mostly) on Facebook is making it a less joyful experience and chasing people off of the platform. I don’t think that’s the only reason for the decline, but it’s certainly part of it.

I wrote an entire blog post about other reasons why Facebook’s audience is slipping: Facebook Usage Declined and the 3 Reasons Why.

It will be interesting to see what Edison’s upcoming 2018 social media research findings show for Facebook usage in Canada and Australia. That data might yield some clues as to whether America’s toxic political climate is having an impact on Facebook usage that is USA-specific.

Facebook Usage Is WAY Down Among Young People

Facebook’s demise as a hangout for young Americans has been long rumored, but the math finally supports the premise.

2018 social media research facebook usage

Among 12 to 34 year-olds, Facebook usage declined a staggering 15 percent in one year. Usage is still high, at 67 percent of young Americans, but such a precipitous decline does not bode well for the future of the platform.


{new research} Facebook usage among young Americans declined by 15% in the past year.
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And in a related trend, for the first time ever, Facebook is more popular among middle-aged Americans than it is among young Americans. This is remarkable, considering that Facebook was developed as a platform that ONLY students could use.

Twitter Usage Is Also Down

While the decline in Facebook usage represents the biggest share of America’s reduction in social media time spent, Twitter experienced a similar falloff.

Twitter’s overall usage is—as it has been for a long time—about one-third that of Facebook.

But this year, Twitter’s usage also declined for the first time ever. This pattern mimics Facebook’s almost exactly, with a bump between 2016 and 2017, and then a retreat in 2018.

2018 social media research social network usage

This 2018 social media research found that 21 percent of Americans 12 years or older use Twitter, making it the sixth most popular social network.


Twitter is used by 21% of Americans...it is now the 6th most popular social network.
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Snapchat and Instagram Are Pulling Away Among Young People

In 2017, 19 percent of Americans 12 to 34 used Snapchat more than any other social network. Instagram was best-loved by another 18 percent.

This year, Snapchat is the favorite social network of 29 percent of 12 to 34 year-olds. This is a huge climb in just 12 months. Instagram also saw growth, with 22 percent now saying it’s their favorite.

What are these young Americans using less, so that they can use Snapchat and Instagram more? Facebook, which declined as a favorite from 48 percent to 35 percent in one year.

2018 social media research favorite social media platforms

Photo-Driven Social Media Is Ascendant

Every social platform features a lot of photos. But only three are almost entirely photo or video dependent: Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Among the top six social media destinations, only those three saw an increase in usage in the past year, with Instagram moving from 34 percent to 36 percent, Pinterest moving from 30 percent to 31 percent, and Snapchat moving from 29 percent to 31 percent.

The more text and opinion-oriented platforms (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter) were either flat or experienced a decline in usage.

In a complex and conflicted world, the relative escapism offered by thumbing through photos on Instagram, or creating the ultimate wish list on Pinterest, may be a welcome respite from the snark of Twitter or the sales pitches on LinkedIn.

Download This 2018 Social Media Research (and More)

This report provides some of the first evidence of a potentially massive shift in how and why social media is used. The team at Convince & Convert and I will continue to monitor these changes and document them for you here.

Meanwhile, I highly recommend you download The Infinite Dial, as it contains many more insights into smart speakers, podcasting, social media, and online audio trends.

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Facebook Usage Declined and the 3 Reasons Why https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/facebook-usage-declined-3-reasons/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/facebook-usage-declined-3-reasons/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=149284 New research reveals that, for the first time ever, Facebook usage has gone down. Jay Baer identifies three possible reasons why.

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Facebook Usage Declined and the 3 Reasons Why

Each year, Edison Research and Triton Digital produce the comprehensive and well-regarded Infinite Dial study which probes how Americans use social media, audio services, and other technology.

The 2018 edition was released on March 8, and includes a shocking finding:

For the first time ever, usage of Facebook went down.

(Get the 2018 Infinite Dial Report to learn a lot more about Americans’ usage of social and other tech. It’s the most recent, comprehensive, and accurate data available.)

That’s right. The behemoth of social media saw a decline in usage, from 67 percent of Americans ages 12 and older to 62 percent of that same audience, according to Edison and Triton’s survey of 2,000 randomly selected persons.

This drop is seen in every age and gender demographic as well. It’s not as if only young people, or older Americans, or women are using Facebook less. Every studied group is using Facebook less.

Facebook Usage Decline per Infinite Dial 2018

Facebook Usage Decline per Infinite Dial 2018

Of course, 62 percent of Americans is still a huge group of people. But this number puts Facebook’s 2018 usage in line with the 2015 penetration rate. Facebook just gave back two full years of user growth.

And a drop from 67 percent to 62 percent is a decline of eight percent overall in one year. Again, not enormous when looked at in isolation, but given Facebook’s steady, upward trajectory since the first Infinite Dial study in 2008, it’s quite a difference in pattern.


Facebook usage dropped 8% in USA since 2017, the first drop in its history. Here are 3 reasons why.
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Why, after a decade, did Facebook finally see a reduction in usage in the United States? I believe there are three explanations.

1. Increased Distrust of Facebook

It hasn’t been a great year for Facebook as an organization. The mainstream media has consistently covered Facebook’s role (or at least complicity) in the world of “fake news.” When you combine this with the company’s other missteps in the areas of privacy and accountability, you end up with an environment where the users of the platform may not fully trust the motives and judgment of those that operate the platform.

Given that Facebook has access to many of our most important personal data points, photos, and feelings, a drop in trust could create a drop in usage.

2. Increased Discord on Facebook

If you’re a Facebook user, I’m sure you’ve seen this in your own News Feed: someone who says they are logging off of Facebook for good because of the rampant negativity present on the platform.

In the shadow of the presidential election, there has been a continued polarization of thought in America, and an acceptance that the new normal is a climate of “us” vs. “them.” This is tiring. Each time you express an opinion on Facebook, you must defend that opinion from segments of your “friends” who are now “the opposition.” This squeezes the fun out of Facebook, like Fergie squeezing propriety out of the national anthem.

When additional Infinite Dial data is released, we’ll have more insight on this point. But I predict we’ll see an even greater drop in daily usage. While there are some people who have signed off of the platform entirely due to discord, anecdotally, I believe the bigger change is people using Facebook a couple times a week instead of every day.

3. Increased Disinterest in Facebook

Indeed, I believe reduced trust in our Facebook overlords along with reduced willingness to argue amongst ourselves on Facebook contribute to this first-ever reduction in usage in America.

But a third explanation is that this drop represents a natural shifting of users to other parts of the Facebook ecosystem. While Facebook’s usage declines, Instagram’s usage continues to march upward, as does the number of people consistently using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

This may be a purposeful segmentation approach by Facebook. It’s particularly true among young Americans ages 12 to 24, where Edison Research observed the largest drop in usage.

After all, one of Facebook’s most attractive elements is that you can do a LOT of different things on the platform. But that’s also one of its great weaknesses. Is Facebook the BEST place for video? Probably not. Is it the BEST place for photos? Probably not. Is it the BEST place for messaging? Maybe.

As Facebook usage goes down, Instagram and WhatsApp and Messenger usage go up because they offer a more tailored experience. As social media progresses, it is natural for our own usage to gravitate toward one or more platforms that offer a more specialized experience that is more relevant to what we personally enjoy best about social media. Thus, some people gravitate toward Instagram. Others, Linkedin. Others still, Snapchat.

Coca-Cola is doing the same thing. They just rolled out four new flavors of Diet Coke, enveloped in a chic, skinny can. These new adjuncts will assuredly reduce consumption of old-school Diet Coke, but they hope that this move will grow their overall market share, across all five beverage flavors.

Last year, I wrote about Facebook mimicking all of Snapchat’s features and baking them into Instagram. At that time, I predicted that while Snapchat’s user base would shrink as a result, it would actually be better for them strategically. Casual users of Snapchat (like me) would leave the platform and use Instagram instead (like me). Thus, the remaining Snapchat user base would become more homogenous, allowing them to charge a greater premium for advertising. And Snapchat just announced their first-ever profitable quarter, so that may be precisely what occurred.

Distrust. Discord. Disinterest. These are the 3 reasons for Facebook’s decline in usage.

But is it really a problem?


Distrust. Discord. Disinterest. These are the 3 reasons for Facebook’s 8% decline in usage.
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Facebook’s vision—as articulated by Mark Zuckerberg many times, and in many ways—is to be the way humanity connects. And they are when you look at the entirety of their holdings. But, when you look at the do-everything workhorse that is Facebook per se, the bloom is finally off the rose. Too big, too boring, too noisy, too everything.

Should Facebook be concerned about this drop in usage? Yes. But as long as they are growing their user base across everything they own, they’ll continue to dominate social media, and beyond.

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4 Essential Social Metrics for 2018 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/essential-social-metrics-for-2018/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/essential-social-metrics-for-2018/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 13:30:17 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=149164 Social may be the most measurable form of marketing, but that doesn’t mean we’re measuring it well. Learn which social metrics to prioritize in the coming year.

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4 Essential Social Metrics for 2018

Once upon a time, social took up just a tiny corner in the world of marketing. Oftentimes, companies reluctantly threw a small percentage of their budget at it without really investing much in the way of staffing, strategy, or analytics. But as anyone knee-deep in the evolution of the industry knows, those days are gone.

Bypassing traditional customer service channels, social is now the channel of choice for consumers who want to reach out to and engage with brands. And those consumers have seriously high expectations: 53 percent of them expect a customer service response within an hour! The power of social now goes beyond simple brand awareness or reputation; it’s quantifiable dollars and cents.

Social will be a major part of most companies’ marketing strategies in 2018, but are you looking at the right metrics to measure your success in the social realm? If you’re evaluating the effectiveness of your campaigns based merely on page likes and clicks, I’m afraid you’re missing the boat.

I recently joined Jim Rudden, CMO of Spredfast, for a webinar breaking down how to best approach social planning and measurements this year. While social is the single most measurable form of marketing ever, that doesn’t mean we’re measuring it well. I’ve seen lots of mind-numbing social media scoreboards in my time! So how do we focus on the metrics that matter? Here are a few:

1. Post Volume

This one is crucial, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting it right. The harsh reality is that there is no “neutral” in social. Every time you post—whether it’s a major campaign rollout or a response to a customer comment—it either builds or hurts your brand, so hitting on the right cadence is paramount.

Learning how to get in that “Goldilocks Zone” where everything is justttt right is a moving target. It will vary from brand to brand and channel to channel. And don’t think you can set it and forget it, either; you need to test and revise throughout the year to keep things fresh. You have to work to find where the decay point lies for your audience.


There is no 'neutral' in social.
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2. Relevancy Score

Social algorithms seem to be forever changing, and making sure your content is seen by your audience is getting harder and harder. A great way to ensure that your posts are getting the broadest reach possible is to make them hyper-relevant.

Much like Google’s system, Facebook now rates paid content. It’s on a scale of one to 10, and once your post has accrued 500 impressions, you’re assigned a score based on things like how often it is viewed, liked, and shared, as well as negatives like how often it’s hidden or reported.

Keeping an eye on these scores—and adjusting your content and approach accordingly—is the best way to get more eyes on your posts. If your content is effective, they’ll show it to more people. After all, it benefits both your brand and Facebook to deliver advertising that people want to see.

3. Video Minutes Viewed

Video content is quickly becoming one of the most effective weapons in the social toolbox. When it comes to tracking impact, though, the simple metric of how many views a video gets is virtually worthless, in my opinion. On Facebook, just three seconds constitutes a “view,” so it’s clear that we need to be far more nuanced about how we’re measuring engagement if we truly want to determine the success of video posts.

In addition to determining the total and average minutes watched, the dwell pattern can tell you all about where attention is dropping off for your viewers. This can be especially powerful if you have a call to action in your video that you want to make sure is reaching your viewers.

4. Post-Click Conversion Rate

Oftentimes, the goal of social content is to drive consumers back to your website to take part in a deeper engagement with your brand. Just looking at post clicks isn’t going to tell you if that’s happening consistently, though. What really matters is what happens after the click.

You can get 500 clicks on a post, but if the customer isn’t taking the next step and purchasing your product or interfacing with your form etc., then you’re not getting the job done. The percentage of conversions happening from those clicks is the real measure of how effective your content is in spurring the behaviors your brand wants to foster.

The most useful metrics for your business will vary based on your individual priorities and goals, of course, but these are a great starting place.

To go more in-depth on these and to hear about the other three vital metrics you’ll need to employ in order to properly measure your brand’s social impact in 2018, you can find Jim’s recap here and check out the Social Measurement in 2018 webinar.

This post is part of a paid sponsorship between Spredfast and Convince & Convert.

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The 3 Social Metrics That Will Get You Promoted https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/the-3-social-metrics-that-will-get-you-promoted/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=40632 Just launched: A new, free ebook from Jay Baer and Convince & Convert called The 3 Types of Social Media Metrics and Why They'll Get You Promoted.

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The 3 Social Metrics That Will Get You Promoted

A decade into the rise of social media as a business imperative, and we’re still hamstrung by a glut of weak and sometimes misleading statistical measures.

In short, social media metrics often suck.

I want to try to help fix this by drawing from the Convince & Convert team’s experiences with dozens of brands. I want to try to shed some light on what’s real and what’s mathematically imaginary, like Conor McGregor’s chances.


New, free ebook from @jaybaer - 3 Social Metrics That Will Get You Promoted
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Yes, I want to help social media practitioners better understand what’s happening day-to-day. But perhaps more importantly, I want to give social pros a way to better merchandise their data inside their own companies. This is an area that, in my experience, needs a lot of work. There are a TON of very adept social professionals that are holding back their own careers by not consistently explaining their progress in a concise and powerful fashion.

So today I launch a new ebook from me and the Convince crew, called “The 3 Types of Social Media Metrics and Why They’ll Get You Promoted”

It’s 100 percent free. All we ask for is your first name and your email address. Yeah, we’ll add you to our weekly email list, and I hope you’ll find that a worthwhile value exchange. If not, let me know and I’ll remove you.

Highlights of the 3 Types of Social Media Metrics and Why They’ll Get You Promoted

There’s a ton of content in this book. We pulled no punches and drew no quarter. I very much hope you’ll download it—and I want your feedback. Just email me jay at convince and convert dot com and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, a few highlights:

  • Metrics matter more than ever. As social becomes more reliant on paid, budgets go up. And when budgets go up, scrutiny rides shotgun. Effective measurement is required to justify budgets (and personnel).

Time to get serious about social media metrics
Click To Tweet


  • Most metrics fail because they are not tied to a meaningful business outcome.

Goal isn't to be good at social. The goal is to be good at business.
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  • We describe nine key metrics in the ebook, ranging from audience growth rate to share of voice.
  • And, in my favorite section, we discuss the three different reports that should be created about social media, and who should see each type of report, and when, using our F3 approach (Frequency, Focus, Format).

Huge thanks to the entire team for working on this. It’s the first in a series of ebooks we’re creating called The Thoughtful Marketers Guides. Next one is on content marketing.

Grab yourself a copy of  “The 3 Types of Social Media Metrics and Why They’ll Get You Promoted” right now here, and please let me know what you think via email, or below.

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Why Social Makes Every Marketer a Researcher https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/every-marketer-a-researcher/ Wed, 10 May 2017 13:02:53 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=39690 Social media data is changing the game for research, and there’s no reason every marketer can’t become their own researcher.

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Why Social Makes Every Marketer a Researcher

Marketers in every industry and at companies of all sizes of all shapes and sizes know they should be doing research before acting. Whether it’s getting a better understanding of top terms and phrases to use in messaging or getting a view into your target audience, research is a powerful tool to make our jobs easier while producing better results. But research, I believe, has a bit of a PR problem.

Unfortunately, research is still seen as a complicated, prickly subject that belongs in the hands of a few chosen people at agencies or internal departments that include the words “quantitative” or “insights” in their titles. We’ve been taught that to do research right, it takes a lot of time and money. It takes focus groups and surveys and weeks to analyze the results. By that time, your messaging may have shifted, and your campaign might already be wrapping up.

But the good news is that things are different today. With all the data marketers have available today, there’s no reason that every marketer out there can’t be a researcher in their own role. The specific data I’m talking about is social media data, and it’s changing the game for researchers everywhere.

Social media data—the daily patterns of postings and users from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and beyond—can give marketers of all sizes a view of what’s important to their audience. I should know: I run the Research team for Spredfast, the leading enterprise-level social media company. The charter for my team is to analyze the billions of pieces of social content we have flowing through our systems every day to find patterns in how consumers and brands meet on social channels. We search for findings, patterns, and trends that can help make the industry, our partners, our customers, and ourselves smarter.

So why do I think social data changes the game for research? Here are three reasons.

Social Is Always On

In the past, marketing research has been the practice in creating new data points, data that hasn’t existed before. Conducting a focus group—bringing in people to answer questions about a marketing message or product—is a perfect example of data creation. Researchers ask questions and get answers, resulting in data.

But with social data, there’s a good chance any question you’re asking has already been answered. Social data gives you a constant stream of content—what’s been shared, what’s been talked about, and the who and where behind the conversation—going back months, even years. Want to know what people think about your product? There’s a good chance they’re already telling you. And because social data gives you access to the entire conversation, you can get the same information about your competition or other brands you’re interested in.

Besides, while focus groups are great for detailed research, attitudes change over weeks and months. The way that potential consumers feel about a product isn’t the same in the summer as it is at the holidays. And who’s to say that the twenty people that answered your focus group invitation are representative of who you’re selling to? With social, it’s not uncommon to get millions of data points every week. It’s a key data source for any modern marketer.


Want to know what people think about your product? There’s a good chance they’re already telling you.
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Social Brings Deep Data

Not only does social bring a ton of data for marketers, but it also bring deep data—dimensions that most sources could only dream of. The most common way of thinking about social data is to search what people are talking about. And that’s great—there’s a lot of value there for most marketers. But it’s the other types of data in social that can give you a real edge.

Let me give you an example. Recently, we released a report on personality profiles in social media. We were interested in applying Myers-Briggs personality labels (labels that identify “introvert,” “extrovert,” and other descriptors, resulting in four-letter designations like INTJ, ESTP, etc.) to social media users. We thought it would be interesting to understand how introverts interact with content versus extroverts—how “sensing” personality types (people that see things more literally) post versus “intuitives” (people that tend to read between the lines for hidden meaning.) The big question was this: How do we identify someone’s personality type on Instagram? As it turns out, tens of thousands of people just tell you.

Myers-Briggs Instagram data

We searched Instagram bios and found a huge number of people describing themselves with their Myers Briggs four-letter codes, and then parsed through over one-hundred thousand posts to find patterns. Turns out, extroverts get more comments on their posts, and introverts get more likes. Introverts love art and anime, extroverts love posting selfies. Sensing types post early in the day, but intuitive types wait until after lunch to post once they’ve had a chance to absorb the world around them.

The point here is that people will tell you almost anything on social media—you just have to know where to look. Tools like Spredfast’s Intelligence can search Twitter and Instagram bio terms and return thousands of results in seconds—terms where people are identifying themselves as people you’re interested in, or that love your competition. But profile searches are just the beginning: Social data allows you to search by gender, age, followers of certain accounts, location, influence, sentiment, and combinations of all of the above. Interested in men, aged 18 to 24, that live in New York, like skiing, and follow the Green Bay Packers on Twitter? You can do that.

With Social, Every Year Brings New Data

The third great thing that social brings to the research world is new data, every year. With emerging platforms and new functionality, new data becomes available to marketers. One example of this is Facebook’s release of reactions—the laughing, love, angry, wow, and sad expressions that have been live for about a year. Not only do these reactions allow users to express more than simple positive emotions towards messages, but they allow marketers to track emotional response in ways we’ve never been able to do before on social.

Facebook reaction data

In our latest report on Facebook reactions, we found that not only is reaction usage increasing each month, but that the usage is driving a more complex understanding of success for social media content creators. Want to get a “wow” reaction from the crowd? Make sure you’re crafting content that earns that response, and then measure the results accordingly. Want to know how the competition is keeping their audience entertained and laughing? Mine their social data to understand which videos are getting the highest laugh/reaction ratio in their content portfolio.

New Data, New Methods, Better Research

Analyzing social data—with its real-time availability, huge scale, and deep variety available to mine—can be as simple as a text search, or as powerful as targeting on specific user attributes. Either way, it’s a key way for modern marketers to build an advantage and to gain new levels of understanding about their content, targeting, and creative. So, if you want to join me in pulling the term “research” back from the chosen few and giving it back to the masses, social data is here to help.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a paid collaboration between Convince & Convert and Spredfast.

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Are You Seizing the Power of Social Media Attribution? https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/the-power-of-social-media-attribution/ Wed, 11 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=37463 Too many marketers miss crucial data when channeling traffic from social media. Learn how to harness the power of social media attribution.

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Are You Seizing the Power of Social Media Attribution

Few digital marketers entirely neglect marketing analytics. But are they seizing their full power? Hardly. Most just scratch the surface of what’s possible.

The challenge is magnified in the social media realm. While your average tweeters usually take inventory of the basics, such as share counts and likes, very few are equipped to unravel deeper and more meaningful data that can be attributed to leads and sales.

This tactic is called social media attribution. To get at the data, you need a robust social media management platform, such as Oktopost. And to help you get your head around the immense potential of this sophisticated form of tracking, I called on the company’s CEO Danial Kushner. Press that play button, and 17 minutes from now, you’re going to have a much stronger grasp of how you can elevate your game with social media data.

Barry: I read a post on your blog about tracking social media KPIs where you wrote, “One of the reasons some B2B marketers are resistant to using social media is the difficulty in measuring social media ROI.”

Daniel: Yeah. When we look at marketing—and I’m focusing on the B2B side—almost every activity is easy to measure. If I’m spending 50 thousand or 100 thousand on a tradeshow booth, I can count how many business cards I collected at the end of the day. If we’re doing a webinar, I know how many people registered and attended. And even if I’m doing paid ads, we have the platforms in place to help us measure the leads and we can follow that down the pipeline.

But when it comes to social, the majority of the metrics are all around likes, shares, retweets, and followers. There is no real correlation between that and ROI. So being able to tie social media to lead generation efforts and pipeline activity is going to give us a picture of how social is really helping the business.

No Metrics, No Budget

Barry: It’s about bringing something into the executive offices the boss actually wants to hear—information that delivers something on the bottom-line, right?

Daniel: Exactly. Before founding Oktopost, I was a vice president of marketing at a company called Nolio, which was later acquired by CA, Computer Associates. I used to meet with the CEO once a month, and he just had one question for me: “How many leads can you generate for us this month?” That was all he cared about. The main objective was leads for the sales team.

If a large portion of activity is on social media, you want to be able to measure the social media and correlate that activity to the leads being generated.

Barry: You showed me a report published by Forrester, and in it is something that says, “Marketing needs to measure the sales opportunities generated and use data to continuously optimize the ROI achieved across a well-considered marketing mix.” That speaks to marketing justifying its existence and its efforts, doesn’t it?

Daniel: Definitely. In enterprises, at least 80 to 90 percent of their budget has to have a positive ROI. That report also goes on to mention that marketers who aren’t able to measure the ROI of their marketing efforts are going to have a very hard time retaining their budgets for next year. The business wants to see the dollars they put in and what they’re getting out of it.

Introducing Social Media Attribution

Barry: So that brings up social media attribution. You need to measure social media activity and show it means something to the bottom line—otherwise called “attribution.”

Daniel: Definitely. Let me give you an example. Let’s say we’re doing this interview, and it’s going to be published on a blog. I’m sure my marketing team is going promote it on the Oktopost Twitter account, our LinkedIn company page, and Facebook page.

So let’s assume a prospect clicks on my tweet, gets to your blog post, and reads about social media attribution. They want to get more information, so they will go to Google, search my name, the company name Oktopost, get to my website, and hopefully leave their information or fill out a form to get a demo, a whitepaper, webinar, or whatever.

They left their information. Now, whatever tracking method I’m using—if this is Google Analytics, a marketing automation platform, like Act-On, SalesFusion, Marketo, Eloqua, all those technologies—it is going to tell me as the marketer that this lead came from a Google search. But in reality, it came from a tweet that triggered somebody to do a search and led them to my website.

With most of the tracking technologies, you’re going to miss that connection between social and the lead generated. This is lead attribution. And you’re actually going to give incorrect attribution. You’re going to give the attribution to a Google search when, in fact, it was actually a tweet.

So in many cases, especially when we’re curating content and sending traffic from our social media assets to third-party websites, we’re missing a lot of this data. Even if social is helping to generate leads and is getting you traffic—but through third-party websites—it’s very hard to track. You might be getting useful traffic from social, but you won’t know. You will be clueless about it because you’re not tracking it in a way that you can easily see that association or attribution.

Identifying the Channels That Work Best

Barry: So the complexity of a buyer journey contributes to the ambiguity of figuring out how that person got there. A large part of it, I guess, is identifying the channels that are actually working. So if that channel happens to be Twitter or your blog or Facebook, they’re not getting their fair shake when you look at the numbers.

Daniel: Yeah, I think when you say what’s working, to me that triggers what content is resonating with my audience. What are they reading? What are they clicking on? What’s triggering them to move further along in a marketing funnel?

In almost every single discipline that we do in marketing, we measure everything. We have platforms to see heat maps on our website—to see where the mouse is moving over, to see which buttons are getting clicked. We A/B test every single web form. We A/B test email subject lines.

But, if you think about, when it comes to social media, nobody is testing, they’re just putting their content out there, and what happens, happens. And then you might get the more advanced marketers that say, okay, so I’m getting 90 percent of my social traffic from Twitter, five percent from LinkedIn, whatever percentage from Facebook—that’s very generic.

They’re not saying, listen, if I write my tweets with an exclamation point or with a smiley or with a certain emoticon, that’s going to get me more clicks per impression and drive more traffic to my website. So just like we test a webpage, just like we test conversion forms and email opens and email clicks, we should be testing our content on social as well because, after all, social is content, just like website content, just like email content.

Integrating Social Metrics with Marketing Automation

Barry: So how is it done? You’ve brought up marketing automation platforms and went through a short list. You can use Oktopost for a lot of things, but you need to plug marketing automation in with Oktopost to do this enterprise level B2B social media attribution task we’re talking about, don’t you?

Daniel: Yeah. It really depends on the company, but I believe that there should be one platform that you’re going to use to measure the bulk of your funnel, the marketing and sales funnel, or the pipeline. This could be in your market automation, like with Marketo, or in maybe sales for CRM. Larger companies might have a BI platform where they extract data from CRM or marketing automation and put them in dashboards.

In order to get full attribution, you need to have full data connectivity between these platforms. Social data needs to flow into your marketing automation.  Marketing automation needs to flow into CRM, because that’s where the sales are happening. There has to be a connection. You can’t expect to be able to attribute social media to lead generation efforts if the data isn’t flowing between those two systems.

Using Social Data to Deliver Targeted Content

Barry: What about knowing how your social media activities contribute to sales enablement, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and the ability to develop content that’s more in line with your marketing goals?

Daniel: There are many, many use cases. One of the main things that we do in marketing automation is if our prospects are looking at specific pages on the website, then we can learn what they’re interested in, especially if they’re visiting the pricing page. Further down the funnel, they’re interested maybe in purchasing.

If they’re looking at a specific topic, they are interested in that. So if we have the social data, when somebody clicks on a tweet, yeah that’s great, we can say we got traffic from Twitter, but as the author of that tweet we know an awful lot about what’s happening in that message. We know why we sent the tweet. Did it come from a specific campaign? What’s the topic of the tweet? Was this tweet leading to a whitepaper that discusses ROI, or was the tweet leading to a white paper that discusses financial security platforms?

So if we know everything about that tweet, why it was written, where it was published, who published it, that information is now inside the marketing automation, and we can actually understand the interests of our leads and prospects by looking at their social click activity. Then we can use that information to nurture them in a much smarter way.

Another example: Let’s say we have a prospect that is in the sales pipeline—what we call an “open opportunity.” Let’s say in Salesforce CRM. So the sales rep is working on the prospect, and let’s say it’s a long sale cycle, an enterprise sale, and this prospect is constantly clicking on the company’s social content, a tweet that went to Wall Street Journal, a LinkedIn update that went to somebody’s online blog.

All of that information—once fed into marketing automation—can trigger alerts to the sales rep that his active prospect is looking at social content, and then actually show the rep what content he is looking at. So when the next conversion or the next follow-up takes place with this prospect, it can be based on what he has been doing on social media.

As an example, to bring it down to earth, when I call you up as a prospect, I say, “Hey, Barry I see you took interest in the Wall Street Journal article that discussed financial security. Was there anything you need more information about?” And I can learn this just by looking at your social activity. Again, this is the power of connecting social data to marketing automation.

Barry: In a very broad sense, we’re talking about the continued evolution of data-driven marketing. The more you know, the better you’re able to provide your customers the experience they’re looking for and move them closer to becoming a customer.

Daniel: One of the big trends in marketing automation is real-time personalization. So when you go to a company’s website, you’re shown dynamic content that was created for you. And, again, using social data, you have information that can then be used on the homepage. So when you visit the homepage, you’ll get specific content related to what you’ve been viewing on social media. It’s almost like retargeting on your own website.

Barry: Interesting analogy. Boy,ts-watches it just keeps getting more interesting and the tools keep getting more powerful.

Daniel: What we love to say here Oktopost is, “You can’t improve what you can’t measure.” So if you want to improve the way you’re doing social as a B2B marketer, as a corporate marketer, it has to be something that’s measurable.

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The Most Important Podcast Statistics of 2016 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/most-important-podcast-statistics/ Mon, 26 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=37232 Podcasting consumption is on the rise again, according to Edison Research. The 5 key podcast statistics you need to know, from Jay Baer.

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Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.

The Most Important Podcast Statistics of 2016

My good friends at Edison Research handled the data gathering for my new book, Hug Your Haters, and we discovered that customer service is being massively disrupted.

Now the Edison team is back with a new edition of their annual Infinite Dial research (they partner with Triton on it) and they’ve found another disruptive force: podcasting.

Edison first waived the flag on the explosive growth of podcasts in last year’s Infinite Dial study, but their new, 2016 podcast statistics show that momentum is building for the medium.

To read all of the Infinite Dial findings (I very much recommend you do so) go here. The report is bursting with fascinating statistics, and not just about podcasts but also about online radio, streaming, social media, and beyond.

But considering we produce six podcasts for marketers and businesspeople here at Convince & Convert Media (and we’re starting to produce more and more shows for corporate clients, too) the podcast statistics nestled in The Infinite Dial are of particular interest. Here are the five most important data points to understand.

1. Listenership Is Up 23 Percent This Year

21 percent of Americans ages 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month. That is up from 17 percent in 2015. Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75 percent since 2013.

Podcast statistics 2016 - 1

2. The Audience for Podcasts Is Bigger Than You Think

To provide some context for what 21 percent of the entire country represents, 13 percent of the USA listens to Spotify monthly, and 21 percent of the country uses Twitter.

The same number of Americans listen to podcasts and use Twitter.

The podcast audience is 57 million Americans in total. And while Twitter has more members than that (many more, actually) the research shows their active user base is on-par with the overall podcast audience.

3. Mobile Is Driving Podcast Audience Growth

The rise in podcast consumption over the past two years correlates with an even larger shift in HOW podcasts are consumed. Circa 2014, most podcasts were being listened to on a computer, which restricts consumption windows.

In 2016 it’s a much different story:

64 percent of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet.

Listeners gravitating toward podcasts on the go opens up many more opportunities for consumption, including in the car, at the gym, and other computer-free environments.

4. Podcast Listeners Average 5 Shows a Week

Even among regular listeners, the appetite for podcast consumption has some practical limits.

Weekly podcast listeners consume five shows per week on average

Only my observation, not in the Infinite Dial research, but I find it interesting that five shows is the average given that most people have five days worth of in-car commutes, and many gym members work out five times per week.

To illuminate this podcast statistic slightly more, 69 percent of weekly podcast listeners consume five shows or fewer. This has important consequences for podcast producers, as new podcasts being launched today may need to steal listeners from older shows, the same way that new blogs poach readers from blogs that have been around longer.

Yes, the continued growth in consumption overall provides opportunities, but from my perspective the growth in new podcast launches is outpacing adoption by new listeners.

podcast statistics 2016 - 2

5. Podcast Audiences Skew Young

Certainly, there is continued room for growth in podcast consumption among younger Americans.

One in four Americans ages 12 to 54 listened to a podcast last month.

But to really break through and become a major part of the media landscape, podcasts must become a habit for older Americans. Just 11 percent of Americans over 55 listen to podcasts monthly.

And it’s not really a surprise, as finding, downloading and subscribing to podcasts requires a fair amount of technology sophistication. There are no default podcast listening devices or software, nor is there an approachable podcast directory (iTunes is a hot mess at podcast discovery, which is why I launched MarketingPodcasts.com last year).

I am hopeful that new home-automation technology like Amazon Echo will become widely adopted (I love mine) and open up podcasts to a whole new audience, since you can easily listen to podcasts on that device.

And even the name, “podcasts,” is something less than approachable. It’s a takeoff on broadcast that uses “pod” because the iPod was all the rage back in the day. I’m not sure I’m ready to go there for our own shows just yet, but I believe the industry (such as it is) needs to rebrand around “on-demand radio” or somesuch to make it both more clear what podcasting IS, and less nerdy for the next group of potential listeners.

Please do grab the entire Infinite Dial study. I’ve just given you a tiny taste with these 2016 podcast statistics. There’s a lot more you’ll enjoy.

The post The Most Important Podcast Statistics of 2016 appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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Why You’re Measuring Your Social Media Wrong https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/youre-measuring-social-media-wrong/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=34115 Too many marketers evaluate their social media marketing efforts in misguided ways. Watch out for these all-too-common mistakes.

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Why You’re Measuring Your Social Media Wrong

The roller coaster ride of social media is starting to make me sick to my stomach. Keep your hands and arms inside the car, as we are about to bank hard right into a rant.

First, there was the promise of changing how we communicate with our customers. Social media was going to finally help us achieve one-to-one marketing. Before we reached that nirvana, content marketing suddenly dominated marketing, and social media became a distribution channel.

I’m going to avoid the obvious benefits of social media for customer service, because Jay has research to back that up. This is also not a rant about the decline of organic reach and the requirement to pay to get in front of people. I’m okay with that form of advertising because it seems to be working.

This is about how people still measure their success in social media marketing. Don’t get me wrong—there are plenty of smart people managing social media programs and measuring success in ways that connect to their businesses. But when you read surveys of what people are measuring, so many marketers are headed down the wrong path.

Gaining More Followers Is Not a Goal

Vanity metrics are the worst part of social media. If there is one industrial social media complex pushing its unhealthy ways on society, this is it. It’s not just that all the major social platforms present followers, likes, comments, retweets, and shares front and center on profiles, pages, and posts, but the latest posts from leading “thought leaders” continue to promote this approach with their own content. “How to Get More Followers on This Channel,” they write. “How to Get More Followers on That Channel.” It’s even spilling over to networks like Snapchat that don’t even display follower numbers.

Yes, you want to build your audience to get your message, or content, in front of more relevant people, but relevance is more important. Growing your numbers for the sake of reporting higher numbers next month does not get you new customers.  If more followers is your goal, just spend $50 each month to buy a few thousand fake ones and take the rest of the month off. Or you might want to take that time to create a plan to measure something that actually matters to your business.

Don’t Measure What You Can’t Change

Another measurement approach that is just as bad as vanity follower metrics are tracking metrics just for the sake of tracking metrics. Sometimes your boss may tell you what to track. You can track and report anything they want, but the point is really the analysis of those metrics, not the metrics themselves. What does it all mean? Did your metrics improve this quarter? Did something you did cause the improvement, or was it due to outside forces? It is this analysis that causes you to do something different to improve your metrics in the next period.

You shouldn’t be tracking metrics if you can’t have any effect on them with your actions. At the same time, you should be looking at metrics as your guide to what and how to improve in the future. You, not your boss, may need to determine the best metrics to track. For example, understanding where your blog traffic comes from should help you improve it. But knowing what topics resonate with your audience is also a part of understanding post performance.

ROI Means Tracking Money

Every marketer must answer the ROI question. This has been a part of social media metrics conversations since the beginning. The challenge of this request is that ROI means “return on investment,” and investment means money. Whether you are talking about a campaign, a social media program, or your entire marketing organization, the ROI formula describes how much money you earned (or saved) compared to the money you spent. So unless you are using social media in a way that drives sales, you cannot determine ROI.

If we go back to those follower metrics, there have been lots of estimates of what a follower is worth. Even this depends on your business and what you are using social media for. Can you calculate a number that represents awareness based on 10,000 people liking a Facebook Page? Maybe, but you have to compare that to some other monetary view of awareness in your business, and you have to understand what action those fans of the page can take. When these kinds of numbers are compared to the investment made, which includes the cost of employees, agencies, and technology, the ROI is not usually a positive number.

You Must Care Deeply About Your Metrics

If you don’t care about your metrics, they will not care about you. Metrics can be challenging to collect, depending on what tools you use, but many marketers use a variety of tools that don’t talk to each other. Excel often becomes the central collection point. This means that you could be spending a lot of time transferring your metrics into Excel. This takes time. It can be hard to spend this time on metrics that don’t matter or don’t help you do your job better.

Those PowerPoint decks you create from your Excel spreadsheet need to guide your way forward. So often, these reports are only a backwards-looking snapshot of activity. The pretty graphs and charts are not the point. The more you care, and the more analysis and meaning you can add, the more relevant this reporting becomes. This is how social media marketing can have an impact on your business.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

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The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/the-5-key-2016-podcast-statistics/ Tue, 15 Mar 2016 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=31110 Podcasting consumption is on the rise again, according to Edison Research. The 5 key podcast statistics you need to know, from Jay Baer

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Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.

The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics

My good friends at Edison Research handled the data gathering for my new book, Hug Your Haters, and we discovered that customer service is being massively disrupted.

Now the Edison team is back with a new edition of their annual Infinite Dial research (they partner with Triton on it) and they’ve found another disruptive force…..podcasting.

Edison first waived the flag on the explosive growth of podcasts in last year’s Infinite Dial study, but their new, 2016 podcast statistics show that momentum is building for the medium.

To read all of the Infinite Dial findings (I very much recommend you do so) go here. The report is bursting with fascinating statistics, and not just about podcasts but also about online radio, streaming, social media, and beyond.

But considering we produce six podcasts for marketers and businesspeople here at Convince & Convert Media (and we’re starting to produce more and more shows for corporate clients, too) the podcast statistics nestled in The Infinite Dial are of particular interest. Here are the five most important data points to understand.

1. Podcast Listening Grew 23% Between 2015 and 2016

21% of Americans ages 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month. That is up from 17% in 2015. Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013.

Podcast statistics 2016 - 1

 

2. The Podcast Audience Is Bigger Than You Think

To provide some context for what 21% of the entire country represents, 13% of the USA listens to Spotify monthly, and 21% of the country uses Twitter.

The same number of Americans listen to podcasts and use Twitter.

The podcast audience is 57 million Americans in total. And while Twitter has more members than that (many more, actually) the research shows their active user base is on-par with the overall podcast audience.

3. Podcast Growth is Being Driven by Mobility

The rise in podcast consumption over the past two years correlates with an even larger shift in HOW podcasts are consumed. Circa 2014, most podcasts were being listened to on a computer, which restricts consumption windows.

In 2016 it’s a much different story:

64% of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet.

Listeners gravitating toward podcasts on the go opens up many more opportunities for consumption, including in the car, at the gym, and other computer-free environments.

4. Five Podcasts Per Week is the Magic Number

Even among regular listeners, the appetite for podcast consumption has some practical limits.

Weekly podcast listeners consume five shows per week on average

Only my observation, not in the Infinite Dial research, but I find it interesting that five shows is the average given that most people have five days worth of in-car commutes, and many gym members work out five times per week.

To illuminate this podcast statistic slightly more, 69% of weekly podcast listeners consume five shows or fewer. This has important consequences for podcast producers, as new podcasts being launched today may need to steal listeners from older shows, the same way that new blogs poach readers from blogs that have been around longer.

Yes, the continued growth in consumption overall provides opportunities, but from my perspective the growth in new podcast launches is outpacing adoption by new listeners.

podcast statistics 2016 - 2

 

5. Podcasts Need to Age Up to Break Through

Certainly, there is continued room for growth in podcast consumption among younger Americans.

One in four Americans ages 12-54 listened to a podcast last month.

But to really break through and become a major part of the media landscape, podcasts must become a habit for older Americans. Just 11% of Americans 55+ listen to podcasts monthly.

And it’s not really a surprise, as finding, downloading and subscribing to podcasts requires a fair amount of technology sophistication. There are no default podcast listening devices or software, nor is there an approachable podcast directory (iTunes is a hot mess at podcast discovery, which is why I launched MarketingPodcasts.com last year).

I am hopeful that new home-automation technology like Amazon Echo will become widely adopted (I love mine) and open up podcasts to a whole new audience, since you can easily listen to podcasts on that device.

And even the name – podcasts – is something less than approachable. It’s a takeoff on broadcast that uses “pod” because the iPod was all the rage back in the day. I’m not sure I’m ready to go there for our own shows just yet, but I believe the industry (such as it is) needs to rebrand around “on-demand radio” or somesuch to make it both more clear what podcasting IS, and less nerdy for the next group of potential listeners.

Please do grab the entire Infinite Dial study. I’ve just given you a tiny taste with these 2016 podcast statistics. There’s a lot more you’ll enjoy.

The post The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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4 Important Snapchat Metrics Your Brand Should Be Measuring https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/snapchat-measuring/ Mon, 07 Dec 2015 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=28720 Don't let Snapchat's lack of formal analytics deter you from experimenting with this powerful and increasingly popular social platform.

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4 Important Snapchat Metrics Your Brand Should Be Measuring

You’ve probably been hearing more about Snapchat as a platform for marketers to explore, and for good reason—Snapchat is driving more than 6 billion daily video views, all from mobile devices.

6 billion views (with a b). Let that sink in for a second.

That’s massive. By comparison, Facebook has 8 billion daily video views and YouTube roughly 4 billion. What’s so different though is that Snapchat’s 6 billion views are coming exclusively from mobile devices.

For marketers, there’s a huge opportunity to tap into that audience and tell new stories, as it’s not just a platform for teens anymore. Three quarters of US users are over the age of 18, and we’re seeing more people over the age of 25 joining the platform, a number expected only to grow in 2016.

But while many marketers have spent the better part of the year getting used to the platform itself, one of the biggest things that’s still confusing people is measuring success of content on Snapchat.

We already see marketers struggle to make meaning from established data sources. It’s understandable why a new and complicated platform like Snapchat without formal analytics would be hard for marketers to dive right into.

On Snapchat, marketers should focus less on the number of connected followers they have and more on the number of people consuming their stories. In fact, most users can’t even see how many followers they have on Snapchat—instead, you can measure how many people view your snaps on average.

Fortunately, as we’ve built our Snapchat analytics tool, we’ve put together some of our findings from this year and distilled then into the four key metrics that will get you started.

1. Total Unique Views

The total unique views are the number of people who have opened up the first frame in your Snapchat story for at least a second. It can be found by looking at the number of people who opened the first snap of a story every 24 hours.

On Snapchat, users can post an unlimited number of Snaps, each up to 10 seconds long. Every 24 hours, users watch the story from the first snap to the last snap each time they watch a story.

One interesting thing about Total Unique Views is that it’s on par with what Snapchat delivers themselves as ads metrics. If you are a brand who is paying Snapchat to run ads on the platform, you’re only running one 10-second video at a time in the context of a Snapchat-curated story.

On a story, you can create an unlimited number of these 10-second videos, meaning you can get users to engage with your brand’s message longer than on Snapchat ads. The tradeoff is that you’re at the mercy of the number of your audience’s connections and the ability to break through stories from friends and influencers.

2. Total Story Completions

As mentioned above, Snapchat stories can be one snap or 100 snaps long. The best storytellers on Snapchat use their 24-hour window to string multiple snaps together to create one cohesive video and story. Take a look at this an example from the US Open:

When you post a story that is multiple frames long, look at the number of people who have viewed the last snap to measure the number of people who have completed your entire story. The more people who viewed the last frame of your story, the more people who watched it all the way through and consumed that content.

3. Completion Rate

Snapchat is like a storybook, with a beginning, middle, and end. Fortunately for us, Snapchat lets us see how many people have viewed each chapter along the way, as described above.

Completion rate is the percentage of people that started viewing that story compared to how many of them saw the last part of a story.

We see Facebook and YouTube often look at completion rate as a metric of engagement with a particular piece of content. While those are usually looked at as one video, on Snapchat we find that many users are consuming content in one sitting, even if creators and brands are posting throughout the day.

4. Screenshots

On Snapchat, there are no real likes, comments, or shares, but Snapchat does show users how many people have taken screenshots of their Snaps. Those screenshots can be used as an engagement tool.

For example, you could encourage people to screenshot three choices, in a “choose-your-own adventure” type of story. Or, as used by Chris Mikulin’s Yo-Yo company CLYW, you can use screenshots as a polling device, asking people to screenshot their favorite product design to collect valuable feedback.

Record the number of screenshots, and then follow up with your users with the results.

Make Time for Snapchat Metrics

Measuring Snapchat analytics isn’t always the easiest, as there are no native brand tools yet, as there are with Facebook and Twitter, and few software solutions. It’s more like the early days of Instagram—a new and evolving process that marketers need to grow and learn with as Snapchat continues to prove its value.

Just because it takes a little bit longer to measure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to record your results. As we’ve seen, the results are massive. By taking a little extra time to understand the performance of your stories, you can actually learn a lot about your audience.

As with any communication channel, you’re still fighting for attention with a number of different sources of content within Snapchat alone. Using data to understand how your content is performing is essential to understanding how, why, and if you should spend the resources there.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

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How to Sell Smarter Using Social Insights https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/social-insights/ Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:00:17 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=27368 Forget focus groups. Social data is your key to successful campaigns, smart communication, and a deeper understanding of your audience.

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How to Sell Smarter Using Social Insights

Image via BigStockPhoto.com

If knowledge is power, then knowing what’s happening with your customers is the most powerful marketing tool out there. Using social insights and data points are the best ways to gain understanding about any and all parts of a campaign.

Are sales dropping? Find out why. Is engagement down? Discover what your audience didn’t respond to. Are you missing your targets? Identify the right audience. Social data can be used to discover a brand’s voice, perform market and audience research, and determine how effective a future campaign will be.

Forget Focus Groups

During his session for Inbound 2015, Crimson Hexagon’s John Donnelly discussed why social media data is the secret weapon for selling. According to Donnelly, one of the most effective ways to glean consumer insights is by analyzing social media conversations. He suggests that, rather than shelling out for costly focus groups, sales teams are realizing that social media provides endless information about what their audience cares about, how they consume media, and what motivates their decision-making.

Here are five ways social insights can help sales teams (and you) sell smarter.

Understand the Customer Journey

The evolution of the customer journey is no secret, and accessing social insights can help you track these ongoing changes. This includes following customers across all channels—email, social media, and in-store—and using social analytics to adapt and personalize your sales tactics.

A great example of a company that did just that is Coca-Cola. Their goal was to bridge the gap from digital to in-store sales, specifically looking to drive customers from social interactions to redeeming in-store coupons. Through a partnership with Insightpool, Coke was able to create a winning campaign that doubled coupon redemption rates from 7.6% to 15.2%. By analyzing social insights and using them to target, predict, segment, and engage real-world consumers on social, Coca-Cola and Insightpool’s strategy turned social interaction into in-store customer action.

Hyper-Segment Your Audience

These days, the amount of audience data available is almost unfathomable, making market segments much more specific, detailed, and relevant. Thanks to social media insights, we now know more about our targets than ever before: personal facts, interests, hobbies, activities, connections, and more are all out in the open and provided by the sources themselves.

This rich source of information comes in handy when you’re looking to generate Word of Mouth about your brand. Tapping into the “right” market segments—segments whose interests and values are aligned with your brand—can be the catalyst your campaign needs.

Provide Better Customer Service

According to Forbes, social media creates a complex picture that suggests how to connect with customers based on what they identify as important to them. Knowing your audience and what they are saying about your brand—good or bad—can help you effectively manage their needs and provide one-on-one customer service.

See How You Stack Up Against the Competition

Your brand could learn a lot from what people are saying about your brand on social. Word of mouth is a powerful form of communication and arguably one of the most important insights to be gained from social media. Discovering your brand’s WOM Score on Twitter can help you gauge where you stand with your competition based on how many people are talking about your brand, and how influential and topically relevant they are to your brand based on specific topics.

Insightpool has pulled together industry Word of Mouth power rankings to compare the success of each brand on Twitter. We’ve ranked them based on their success at driving conversation around a specific topic to a hyper-relevant audience. See how your word of mouth score compares to your competitors’ here.

Track Strategy Results

It’s one thing to know that users aren’t staying on your site, but it’s completely different to know why they aren’t staying on your site. Tracking customer behavior insights gives you that why.

For example, you might find that the people reaching your site via Twitter links might be the wrong demographic or might not be interested in what your site has to offer. If that’s the case, your brand then has the opportunity to realign your social media strategy with the proper target audience to ensure success the next time around.

There’s a wealth of social insights just waiting to be analyzed out there. If you want your business to get ahead, using social insights to your advantage can increase WOM, segment your audiences, and much, much more.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

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5 Shifts to Fix Your Social Media Metrics https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/5-shifts-to-fix-your-social-media-metrics/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/5-shifts-to-fix-your-social-media-metrics/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=20668 If you're going to invest in social media, also invest in doing social media metrics well. 5 tips from Jay Baer to improve your social media metrics.

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On the social media consulting side of our business at Convince & Convert, my team and I are frequently called in to advise companies on how to improve and enhance their social media metrics. These scenarios vary based on company size and type (as well as their social media activities), but typically I find 5 areas where social media metrics and reporting can be fixed:

1. Measure the Right Number of Social Media Metrics

Just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean you should. There is no shortage of data points available….don’t select them all. Focus on a meaningful handful of illustrative metrics, and track them rigorously over time, to see trends as they develop.

2. Tie Social Media Metrics to Business Goals

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it:

The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media (click to tweet)

In addition to the typical, tactical metrics that measure reach and engagement, go the extra step and tie your social media program to customer behavior that really matters, like website visits, lead generation, sales (especially in an e-comm environment), and even important loyalty/retention measures like lift in Net Promoter Score.

3. Merchandise Your Social Metrics Reports

You’re not creating social media reports for yourself, typically. You should probably already know what’s going on, because you’re managing the social media program day-to-day. Instead, the reports are for other people in your organization, all of whom have tons of OTHER things that they care about beyond social media. Consequently, the reports you create need to be merchandised the same way you’d merchandise a sweet sport coat in the front window of Brooks Brothers – make it look sharp, and make it very easy to understand.

If your key social media metrics can’t fit on one piece of paper, you’re either measuring too many things or not merchandising the results properly. Here’s a little excerpt from a sample we created for a major corporation recently:

sample_social_media_metrics_report-2

4. Compare Social Media Channels Head-to-Head

I recently participated in a Webinar with Expion, a terrific social media management platform for big companies (and a sponsor of this blog). In that session, Expion’s CIO Albert Chou talked a lot about cross-channel social media metrics, and how to evaluate social platforms against one another consistently and coherently. In fact, I very much recommend you jump over to their website after this post and download all of the slides from the Webinar. Very worthwhile.

One of the key insights (and best slides) from this webinar on cross-channel social media metrics was the one below, that shows how you should be reporting and comparing similar behaviors across social channels. Even though the “sharing” behavior may be called something different from channel to channel, you should be measuring and evaluating them side-by-side. This adds a ton of clarity to your social media reports.

Map_similar_social_media_behaviors
cross-channel_social_media_metrics_alignment-2

 

5. Calculate Your True Social Media Costs

We spend a ton of time figuring the output and outcomes of our social media behaviors, but comparatively little time calculating our true costs. Doing so isn’t particularly difficult, so why aren’t we doing this all the time? For example, if you have a 3-person social media team:

  • Salaries + Benefits of all team members + Outside costs like software, agency help, social ads. Now, divide by 12 to get approximate monthly costs for social media.
  • Now, assign a percentage of overall time spent in social to each channel. You may need to track your time to figure this out accurately, but you’ll want something like this: Facebook = 27%, Twitter = 18%, Pinterest = 10%, Youtube = 10%, Instagram = 15%, Linkedin = 20%. Now you know your approximate costs per month, per channel.
  • You can then determine how well those investments are paying off, per channel, but looking at the comparative, cross-channel metrics chart shown above.

 

If you’re going to invest in social media, take the time to do social media reporting well. It will make you better at social, and will help garner appropriate support for your efforts internally. And don’t forget to download the slides from the Webinar on cross-channel social media metrics.

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4 Parts of a Must-Click Call to Action https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/4-parts-of-a-must-click-call-to-action/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/4-parts-of-a-must-click-call-to-action/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=20212 When it comes to CTAs, it’s tempting to scour the Internet for that one trick that will get your customers clicking. The problem is, there is no guarantee that someone else’s call-to-action technique is going to work on your customers. The only way to know if your call to action is effective is to run A/B tests.

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4 Parts of a Must-Click Call to Action

When it comes to CTAs, it’s tempting to scour the Internet for that one trick that will get your customers clicking. The problem is, there is no guarantee that someone else’s call-to-action technique is going to work on your customers. The only way to know if your call to action is effective is to run A/B tests.

Interestingly, almost 30% of all A/B tests are CTA button tests, according to one study.

Not every marketer has the time or ability to test every element of a website, but you don’t have to employ an entire analytics department to start running A/B tests on your CTAs. Free tools like SplitButton let you to run A/B tests on your submit buttons, which helps you can see exactly how your customers respond to different styles, colors, and value propositions.

Check out these four must-haves for a call to action that will generate clicks:

1. Use first person.

Let’s get into the grammar for a second.

Did you know that changing the pronoun in your CTA could drastically improve conversions? In one case, changing from “start your free 30-day trial period” to “start my free 30-day trial period” increased conversions by 90%!

Another website studied its successes and found that 66% of their top CTAs used the word “get.” Run a simple submit-button test to determine if your customers are more likely to convert if they read, “Get my e-book now” than “Download the e-book.” The changes are subtle but can have a big effect on your customers.

2. Keep it simple, but specific.

Use language that reflects what your customer is going to receive when they click. Put yourself in their shoes: What’s the next step in the sales process? Do they want to see prices? Sign up for a newsletter? Share with friends?

What happens next should be obvious when you create a strong CTA. One A/B test resulted in a 20% increase in clicks when they changed their button copy to reflect the next logical step. Customers clicked on “Show me my heatmap” instead of “See plans and pricing.” You know where you want your customers to go, but they might be confused. The right language can clarify their path.

3. Add social proof.

Social proof helps to convince a potential customer that people like them are buying—and loving—your product. It can take several different forms – Product reviews help customers make decisions. Logos of companies that have used or featured your product give credibility. Testimonials with photos are often used to attract like-minded buyers.

If you’ve got a big subscriber list, use social proof to your advantage on your email sign-up CTA. The “Join X thousand of your peers” strategy boosted one company’s subscriber conversion rate by 1400%.

4. Don’t assume you know how your customers will act.

Sometimes our customers do wacky things. That is why A/B testing is so critical. For example, marketers might assume that trust verification symbols or no-spam policies near their CTAs reassure customers. But you never know how that will shake out.

One company promised its subscribers that it would never spam, and conversions went down almost 19%. A different company included a VeriSign symbol on its checkout and sales increased by 42%. Minor changes can have a big impact on conversions. The only way to know if your hunch is correct is to run a test and prove it.

Always be testing.

Using A/B testing tools on your calls to action is essential. Since the CTA is the last moment of decision for your customer, it’s a critical place to spend your time. As they hover over that submit button, make it as easy as possible for them to convert.

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Why PR and Marketing Must Work Together to Measure Success https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/why-pr-and-marketing-must-work-together-to-measure-success/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/why-pr-and-marketing-must-work-together-to-measure-success/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=19871 With new methods of measurement, a blurring of responsibilities across social, and the growth of content marketing, an organization’s success is built on solid results from its communication efforts. And neither marketing nor PR can do that alone. Learn how PR and marketing can (and should) work together for maximum impact.

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Why PR and Marketing Must Work Together to Measure Success

Image via BigStockPhoto.com

In the olden days before the Ad Tech revolution, back when advertisers were counting the number of drivers passing a billboard on a Tuesday as a metric for success, PR and marketing rarely combined forces to prove ROI.

Today, with new methods of measurement, a blurring of responsibilities across social, and the growth of content marketing, an organization’s success is built on solid results from its communication efforts. And neither marketing nor PR can do that alone.

What PR Can Learn From Marketing

Social media, smart phones, digital television, and big data in general have led to fractured audiences and the end of “news as an event.”

We no longer pick up the paper to read on the train in the morning or say, “Honey, leave the dishes be, it’s time for the 9PM news.” We receive aggregated news, in real-time, customized to us, through myriad sources and formats.

PR pros are now being challenged to figure out how to reach their audiences without a single silver bullet. Normalizing the results of their efforts and measuring how they actually moved the needle is a bigger challenge than it has ever been.

From a client perspective, PR frequently looks like a cost center instead of a profit center, which is typically why marketing and PR budgets tend to be cut first.

PR pros need to look into how to measure the actions they inspire instead of just the number of eyeballs they secure. Marketers are great at this. They look at how leads are nurtured, how campaigns have impacted SEO, and A/B test content to figure out what has the most impact.

Just recently, Cision and Vocus co-hosted AMEC Measurement Week in NYC, where this was a large part of what several industry thought leaders talked about.

Want to check out the video recordings from the event? Visit here to receive the videos.

What Marketing Can Learn From PR

Many marketers are struggling with the rapid growth of content marketing because, frankly, the content is different than what they are accustomed to. Truly successful content marketing is rarely self-promotional in its entirety – it’s about telling a story. That’s what PR has always been about: managing and telling a brand’s story.

PR pros work to craft key messages that avoid the “Click Here! Buy Now!” mentality, and instead create top-of-the-funnel messages that begin to build trust, reputation, and awareness. PR pros have also consistently focused on how to share their message, whether through social by building relationships with influencers or more traditional by pitching reporters and bloggers.

By embracing PR content and message distribution tactics, marketing can begin to build an even longer tail to their lead nurturing and fill in some of the missing top-of-funnel gaps they may have been missing.

What We Both Gain by Working Together

Marketers have been perfecting attribution modeling: figuring out what made someone become a lead, buy a product, or take an action.

Frequently, PR is left out of this equation.

However, looking at spikes in leads and sales that occur during a major PR campaign or article mention – and without a corresponding marketing campaign – can start to help identify the ROI of PR efforts and eliminate marketing anomalies.

With the growth of content marketing and the importance of original content in search, branded journalism, corporate blogging, social engagement and native advertising have all become tools in a communicator’s arsenal – it’s just not always clear who owns it.

Check out the excellent work Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang have done for Altimeter Group with the Converged Media Imperative. Their “Converged Media Workflow” is a new job description for PR pros and marketers alike.

As lines blur between marketing, PR and social, we all need to look across the aisle to discover the tools and tactics that will provide our brand with the greatest results.

What do you think marketing and PR should do to help work together to measure success?

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How to Save Time on Competitor Social Media Reports https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/how-to-save-time-on-competitor-social-media-reports/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/how-to-save-time-on-competitor-social-media-reports/#comments Sun, 27 Apr 2014 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=17987 A foundation of our work is benchmarking our clients’ social media efforts against their competitors. RivalIQ is our new go-to software for this kind of reporting. It's a HUGE time-saver. I like the company so much, I invested in it. Here's why...

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image from BigStock.com

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badge-jay-says
As social media matures, the problems we solve for our clients at Convince & Convert have changed. Today, we most often help companies take their content marketing and social media to the next level by uncovering ways to optimize strategy, operations, channels, tactics and metrics.

A foundation of our work is benchmarking our clients’ social media efforts against their competitors. This competitive data doesn’t tell the whole story. Competitors may have different resource levels allocated to social, and sometimes have a wholly different approach. But, rich competitive data gives our clients a valuable snapshot of how they are faring at both the macro and micro levels.

Our go-to tool for this type of data is RivalIQ, a relatively new entrant in the social analytics scene that I like so much, I invested in the company.

What we like best about RivalIQ is that it is built from the ground up to save marketers, agencies, and consultancies like ours TIME.

Saving Time on Social Media Competitor Reporting

The software provides dozens of detailed comparison reports across Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, G+ and Instagram. So, if you want to easily compare your competitors Instagram followers, content, post frequency, account description against your own, RivalIQ makes that happen in seconds.

For ongoing consulting clients, we particularly like the reporting feature that sends us an email whenever a client (or a client’s competitor) publishes social content that breaks out of the historical category norm for engagement. So, if a company hits a home run with an Instagram photo, or catches lightning in a bottle with a Facebook post, I’ll know about it almost immediately.

The software also has a terrific feature that allows you to take any chart or graph and instantly export it as a photo, PDF, or Powerpoint slide(s). And this week, they rolled out a new twist so you can customize those Powerpoint exports to match your own branding. (upload your logo, pick your own fonts and colors, etc.)If you have to prep reports for clients or executive leadership, you’ll instantly understand how much of a time-saver this customer Powerpoint option really is.

Customized Comparisons of Successful Social Content

I created a competitive set (RivalIQ calls this a “landscape”) of a few friends who are marketing/social media bloggers and speakers who are also active on Twitter. I added the Convince & Convert logo, our color scheme, etc. so that the exported data looks like our stuff.

Then, with just two clicks I ran reports showing me the top 50 tweets over the past 7 days from Ann Handley, CC Chapman, Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, Marcus Sheridan, Mark Schaefer, Sally Hogshead, Scott Stratten, and me.

Top tweets by engagement rate (retweets + favorites divided by total followers)

Social media competitor reporting Twitter

twitter_comparison_engagement_rate

 

Top tweets by total engagements (retweets + favorites)

Twitter comparison by engagement rate

Twitter_by_engagement

The results differ quite a bit between the two reports because of the inherent differences between engagement rate and engagement total, and because Gary Vaynerchuk has so many more Twitter followers than the rest of us that he always gets a lot of engagements. In fact, he has 9 of the top 10 spots on the second list (I have the other one, a retweet of a great quote from Simon Sinek from the #ICON14 conference). Conversely, Ann Handley’s personal Twitter account doesn’t have a ton of followers yet, so just a few engagements there gives her a superior ratio on the first set of data. 

Data for Websites and Bio and SEO too

The alerting function I mentioned also applies to websites and social bios. So, when Chris Brogan and Sally Hogshead changed their websites to reference their awesome new books (Chris’ here) and (Sally’s here), I got an email. It’s super useful software. A Youtility even!

If you want to play around with RivalIQ yourself, check out all the data I for me, Scott, Gary, Sally, Ann, CC, Mark, and Sally here:
social_media_twitter_comparison_data

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15 Reasons Why Analytics Prediction Will Make You a Better Marketer https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/15-reasons-why-analytics-prediction-will-make-you-a-better-marketer/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/15-reasons-why-analytics-prediction-will-make-you-a-better-marketer/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=15986 Thanks to the success of Google Analytics, there are dozens of ways to collect historical data from your website and connecting social networks. And yet, your optimization strategy is probably missing one very important step: predictive analytics. Predictive analytics interest has skyrocketed over the last year, according to Google trends. The reason? Marketers are beginning […]

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17 Reasons Why Analytics Prediction Will Make Your Life Easier

badge-guest-post-FLATTERThanks to the success of Google Analytics, there are dozens of ways to collect historical data from your website and connecting social networks. And yet, your optimization strategy is probably missing one very important step: predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics interest has skyrocketed over the last year, according to Google trends. The reason? Marketers are beginning to understand how forecast models play into strategy testing and optimization.

The next wave of calculated business improvement has leveraged its success on analytics forecasting and simulation accuracy. Since predictive analytics combined with marketing data is still relatively new, there are only about a dozen ways to forecast your future based on historical data – ranging from long-tail DIY to automated software.

Regardless of your software choice, each forecasting process works approximately the same:

It takes your historical data and runs it through a series of algorithms and constraints, which consider weighted averages and seasonality. Once you have developed a forecast, you are presented with a customized projection of your future marketing data.

If you still need examples of how predictive analytics can improve your site’s testing and optimization, here are 17 reasons why your team needs to implement predictive analytics right now.

1. Learn How To Achieve Your Goals This Year

With simulation capabilities, you can plug your actual goals into your future and see what other corresponding metrics need to follow suit.

For example, your goal might be 100 transactions from Facebook CPC traffic. Simply test “100” as your metric for CPC transactions and see how it affects other factors. You might find out that in order to get 100 transactions, your ad clickthrough rate needs to be at least 4%, your budget needs to go up $20/day, and you need to bid higher on average for your keywords.

2. Find Waste. Delete It.

In a forecasting model, you can see if your current strategy is broken. For example, after a few simulation changes you see that there’s no way you’re going to get traffic from a particular medium you’ve been betting on (i.e. organic, referral, or social). Forecasting can unveil some of your biggest pain points. If you can’t fix the pain points, get rid of them.

3. Discover Where You Can Leverage Efforts

When you’re looking at your marketing strategy as a whole, it can be hard to see the trees through the forest. What one metric makes the most difference? If you were to change one goal only, which would it be?

Use forecast and simulation techniques on your KPIs and find out which metrics and dimensions create the largest, most profitable change.

4. Find Your KPI Sweet Spot

Budget isn’t the only leverage point here, but we’ll use it as an example because it’s a universal one.

When you set a budget – marketing related or not – you usually try to come in under budget. Likewise, when one of your clients sets a budget, he or she usually intends to not only get great results out of the budget but also hopes you come in under budget.

Simulation tools let you test budget allocation (among other metrics) across your marketing ecosphere to find that strategy “sweet spot” where the highest yield births with the least amount of labor.

5. Make Decisions Faster

Use simulations alongside multivariate and A/B split testing strategies to make decisions faster, smarter, and more accurately.

6. See Trends Clearer

Graphs of your historical data are cool, but looking into the future is way more valuable. Why wait until next week to find out you’re wasting money? Use forecasting to see where your current strategies are taking you, then simulate changes to make the future better.

7. Save Money

Instead of just throwing money at campaigns that are working, test budget, ad cost, keyword bids, or other increases until you find the right balance (see #14 for an example). Additionally, change those downward trending strategies right now, before you’ve lost $1,000 to the keyword “bunny slippers.”

8. Save Time

If you have been forecasting in Excel (like we were), you can now breathe a sigh of release. Forecasting models are doing the work for you automatically. If you haven’t been forecasting at all yet… well, then just take our word for it; manual forecasting is a time suck.

9. Endure Less “Oops” Embarrassments

With forecasts, you can see where you’re going before you get there. So if your campaign is doing poorly, your forecast will show the campaign trending downward. And if you’re doing great, your forecast will show the campaign trending upward. Either way, you’ll be on top of your strategy and you’ll have less “Oops, I didn’t think it would do that” moments.

10. Be Smarter and More Confident

Imagine this presentation: You stand up in front of your client and say, “Based on your historical data, we can double your ROI by simply increasing web traffic by 1,000 a month. We can do this a couple different ways, but the most cost and labor effective strategy is to increase overall ad CTR by 2%, add an average of 20 cents to Adwords CPC bids and move our transaction rate from 1.3% to 2.5% by utilizing the landing page we recently optimized.”

This one is easy. You win by sheer numbers, and everyone loves to get behind those. No more relying on the level of creative minds in the room (sorry, Don Draper).

11. Do Less BSing

How many times have you just skipped over a metric during a campaign summary or update? You’re not lying by ignoring the metric in your summary, you’re just not giving the client so much information their head will hurt, right? Give your ethics a break with forecasting model outlooks, justifying any “bad” metrics with the projection of better future results.

12. No More Penny-Slot Testing

Don’t just put a few dollars towards a new campaign and see how it fares. Instead, put a whole budget towards it and know what’s going to happen next. Forecasting and simulations make “testing” new strategies less like testing and more like doing.

13. Better Team Planning

When you’re testing and optimizing, it’s easy to get your KPIs mixed up, especially during multivariate testing. Who’s in charge of what? Which variable did we decide is most important overall? When you’ve forecasted and simulated a plan, the path is clear as glass. Map out your goals per day, week, month, quarter, whatever you want, and start checking off those progress boxes.

14. Measure Optimization More Accurately

Optimizing and forecasting have a great relationship. The process works in almost a perfect circle. You setup an A/B or multivariate test, simulate the test results on the forecast model, find new opportunities within the forecast model, change your tests to focus on these new opportunities, and repeat.

15. Make Your Future Better

This is the most important point because it makes the most sense. Forecasting gives you the ability to see the future of your marketing data by testing changes on your marketing data and then making the next set of data better. Enough said.

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3 Scientific Studies With Real Insight Into Social Media https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/3-scientific-studies-with-real-insight-into-social-media/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/3-scientific-studies-with-real-insight-into-social-media/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=14998   It’s no secret: social media marketing has a data problem. Despite a growing number of tools available to measure the ROI of social media, many of the claims made by “marketing gurus” in this sector come from the gut. Few things are more refreshing in this industry than hard evidence, and that’s why I […]

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 bigstock-Modern-infographic-template-C-52604794

badge-guest-post-FLATTERIt’s no secret: social media marketing has a data problem. Despite a growing number of tools available to measure the ROI of social media, many of the claims made by “marketing gurus” in this sector come from the gut. Few things are more refreshing in this industry than hard evidence, and that’s why I love looking at what peer-reviewed, scientific studies have to say on the manner.

It turns out social media may be even more influential than we have imagined, just not in the way many of us have envisioned. Let’s take a look.

1. Sales and Facebook, Only the Interactions Matter

Social media marketers have been arguing for a while now that social networks aren’t useful as a “broadcast” medium. Very few brands have taken this advice to heart, opting instead to find ways to extort Likes out of their audience, and use that as an opportunity to bombard them with spam.

The “edgier” social marketers who tout “relationships” and “connections” will probably find themselves feeling vindicated after taking a look at a recent joint study by the National University of Singapore and Nanjing University.

A team of three professors worked together with a small Asian retailer to investigate how Facebook influenced sales. And this was a case study if ever there was one, because the data they had to work with was phenomenal:

  • A database of 14,000 customers, including, get this, actual sales data
  • Facebook API data
  • Collaboration with the Facebook Data Science Team

And instead of measuring some meaningless metric like the number of Page Likes or something, they measured which customers saw which posts and comments, they used text analysis to quantify the information richness and emotional sentiment of them, and they categorized them into marketer-generated versus user-generated, and direct interaction versus indirect interaction.

And these guys aren’t amateurs. They performed all kinds of statistical voodoo tricks to control for the possibility that people were joining the Facebook page because they were already going to spend money, not the other way around.

The end result was definitive. On average, if you joined the Facebook Page, you spent about $22 extra on the company. More importantly, the difference was entirely explained not by the simple act of joining the page, but by the interactions that took place on the page.

Here is what they learned:

  • Broadcasting on Facebook really was pointless. We can’t rule out the possibility that this particular fashion retailer just wasn’t skilled enough to use “broadcast” messages on Facebook to generate sales, of course, but that was the result. When it came to interactions with the marketer, only direct interactions influenced sales.
  • It’s probably not surprising that when it came to these direct marketer-user interactions, only positive interactions boosted sales. It might be surprising that the information richness of these interactions didn’t seem to matter.
  • All in all, user-generated content influenced sales far more than anything the marketer did.
  • Paradoxically, the most influential user-generated content was positive and indirect, at least when it came to sales.
  • Direct user interactions were very important, however, because they transformed the products into inelastic commodities. (The elasticity of demand could get as low as 0.006, for those who speak the lingo.)
  • Whether user-interactions were direct or indirect, information richness had a positive impact on sales.
  • When it came to direct interactions between users, only information richness influenced sales. The positive or negative tone of the interaction didn’t seem to make a difference.

Needless to say, these results demonstrate that the real world can be a convoluted and unexpected place, but we can shorten this down to a relatively small list of takeaways:

  • If you can do only one thing on Facebook, encourage information rich interactions between your users, both direct and indirect.
  • If you can do two things, interact with users directly, and stay positive when you do.
  • Recognize that while positive, indirect interactions have the strongest influence on sales, all information rich interactions help improve sales, and both direct and indirect interactions play crucial roles for different reasons.

A good example of a business that’s pulling this off is Shopify, as this post demonstrates. Rather than posting links to their new POS hardware, you see them asking questions to get people talking, and responding directly to the comments. This is the kind of Facebook behavior that leads to sales.

Now, it’s important to recognize with studies like these that whenever we say something didn’t influence sales or didn’t have an impact, we can’t necessarily generalize that. It’s still possible that broadcast-style messages could influence sales in some circumstances. It’s still possible that positive comments could hurt sales, or that it’s better to be information rich when you’re communicating directly with your audience.

One thing that stands out to me, here, is that the brand is using Facebook alone to influence sales. It isn’t trying to drive referrals to a site or get anybody subscribing to a blog. There’s no all-out content marketing going on, so I wouldn’t rule out the fact that you can influence sales with indirect communications. But this study does make it clear just how powerful user interactions are, and why they might even be more important than anything you produce on your own.

So, how do you build this audience of users to interact with each other? Is it with “shareable content?”

2. Viral Marketing? Yeah, About That…

It seems like every marketer and their grandparents are telling you that if you want to succeed in the world of social media, you need to produce content that is “worth sharing.” I’m certainly not going to all-out disagree with that premise, but I am going to say that if you think it’s top priority, this next study is going to shatter a few preconceptions.

The study is called “The structural virality of online diffusion,” a team effort by Microsoft Research and Stanford University, led by Sharad Goel. In this study, they analyzed events as they spread through Twitter, in an effort to understand how and why topics start trending on the platform.

They looked at roughly one billion events as they cascaded through Twitter.

And we all know how this works, right? The most popular tweets get shared with friends of friends of friends. It’s that six degrees of separation thing, right?

Wrong.

True, they did find that the most popular events on Twitter were in fact more viral that they average Tweet. But the correlation between virality and popularity was surprisingly low: 36 percent. It’s impossible to predict how viral a piece of content is based on how popular it is, and even the most viral events could see audiences of just a few hundred.

More importantly, the team of researchers didn’t find a single example of a “supercritical diffusion process.” In other words, after looking at a billion events on Twitter, they didn’t find a single case where, on average, one person would “infect” more than one other person.

In other words, not even viral videos and petitions spread in a manner that we would typically consider “viral.” The most popular events had elements of both “broadcast” and “viral” campaigns.

In the previous section, we found that the best way to influence sales on social networks is by encouraging audience interactions. In this section, we can expand that notion to realize that if you want to have an audience large enough to interact with itself, “viral marketing” isn’t the way to do it.

Instead, we need to focus on retention.

It’s actually fairly common for sharing activity to expand your reach by 20 percent, as previous research by the same lead author has uncovered. If you could keep every single person who saw your content, and you could expand your reach by 20 percent each time, you would only need to publish 120 pieces of content to grow your audience from one person to 3.2 billion. Since it’s actually fairly easy to expand your initial reach by 20 percent, it should be immediately clear what’s really keeping your audience from growing.

Most experienced social marketers can quite effortlessly expand their initial reach by well over 20 percent, but most of them will also lose an even larger portion of their audience with every piece of content that they publish.

If you want to grow, you need to stop thinking about producing content “worth sharing,” and start thinking about how to produce content worth coming back for.

And that’s a very different mindset.

There’s another important insight from this study: the role of influencers. If content never actually spreads in the exponential form “viral marketers” have imagined, it stands to reason that the best way to reach a large audience is to reach somebody who already has a large audience.

Of course, this is exactly what audience retention is all about: becoming an influencer yourself.

By working with influencers you not only reach a larger audience, you also spend time with people who know how to keep one, and learn lessons in the process.

3. Earned Media: Traditional vs. Social

If I asked you to name one market sector where social media definitely influences sales, I’m probably not taking a big risk in assuming that you wouldn’t say, “microlending.” Nevertheless, a study conducted by assistant professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, and published in the Journal of Marketing Research,  discovered exactly that.

“Earned media” has become a bit of a buzzword in the internet marketing community lately, but it’s easy to forget that earned media existed long before the internet in the form of media coverage. This study looked at both.

The researchers looked at 14 months of data about a microlending marketplace:

  • Once again, yes, they looked at actual daily sales data
  • Kiva is a nonprofit, and they didn’t use any paid media, so there were no paid campaigns to interfere with the analysis
  • Data on coverage in newspapers, magazines, television, radio, blogs, and discussion forum posts
  • “Blog” content published by traditional media organizations, like newspapers, were considered “traditional” media
  • They used Google Trends as a control measure, to make sure that they were measuring the impact of media coverage, rather than the impact of demand for information about Kiva and microfinance
  • They also controlled for the holidays and owned blog content and press releases

Again, as you can see, we’re looking at meaningful outcome metrics (sales) and we’re looking at seasoned professionals who know how to avoid conflating cause and effect.

They found that all three main types of earned media significantly impacted sales:

  • Traditional earned media events earned them about 894 new sales and 403 repeat sales
  • Each blog post earned them about 90 new sales and 63 repeat sales
  • Each community forum post earned them about 99 new sales and 48 repeat sales

After digging deeper into the data, however, they found some surprising revelations:

  • If you look at percent changes in community posting, this influenced sales 30 times more than percent changes in traditional media coverage.
  • Using the same approach, changes in blog posting frequency influenced sales 3 times more than changes in traditional media coverage.
  • Blog posts had an influence on traditional media coverage
  • Community posts had an even stronger influence on blog posts

In other words, it would be extremely foolish to assume that the traditional media coverage was more important than the community activity. In reality, sales were being primarily driven by community activity, reflecting what we learned in the first study above. Just as importantly, blog and traditional media coverage were being driven, in part, by community activity.

This study also brings with it an important insight: these discussions were taking place on forums, and most of the discussion was taking place on Kiva’s own forum.

Forums have been largely forgotten by social media marketers, even though more people visit forums than read blogs, and about 45 percent of American social media users visit a message board at least once every 24 hours. This study emphasizes just how important they are as a part of your social media strategy, and this makes sense, for two primary reasons:

  • Businesses with topically-oriented solutions are more relevant on forums, which are built around topics rather than friends and family
  • It makes much more sense to encourage interaction on a platform that you own than on a social media platform filled with distractions and algorithms you don’t control

As marketers, we can’t always wait for the data to catch up to our hunches, but we are foolish if we ignore it once it arrives, and the data is telling a fairly consistent story. Audience retention and interaction are key: reach is secondary.

Thanks for reading. If you have anything to add, we’d love to see it in the comments.

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Extreme Testing: What Breather.com is Doing with 430,000+ Daily Data Points https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/extreme-testing-what-breather-com-is-doing-with-430000-daily-data-points/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/extreme-testing-what-breather-com-is-doing-with-430000-daily-data-points/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:00:03 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=13943 Here’s something you probably already knew: at a rate that’s unprecedented, the internet is creeping into the real world. You can see it in companies like Uber, that are slowly eating away at the taxi industry. You can see it in the drones that are coming up on Kickstarter every day. You can see it […]

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Breather Landscape

badge-guest-post-FLATTERHere’s something you probably already knew: at a rate that’s unprecedented, the internet is creeping into the real world.

You can see it in companies like Uber, that are slowly eating away at the taxi industry. You can see it in the drones that are coming up on Kickstarter every day. You can see it in the hardware that Paypal and Square is building to help transactions happen even easier than before.

It’s happening. Software is eating the world. It’s slow, but it’s going to happen everywhere.

Up in our little corner of the world, we run a company called Breather that’s on the front lines of this stuff. Breather does a simple thing– it’s an app that lets you unlock and open a network of private spaces— in your own city– all with the touch of a button.

Basically, it’s peace and quiet on-demand.

Now that’s cool enough. But I’m a marketer at heart. If you are too, you’re always wondering– Great, but how can I use that? What’s interesting in this new stuff that will help me win?

Well, I’m here to tell you one way all this new hardware is is what’s going to help– by allowing you to use affordable technology to A/B test not websites, but physical space.

Breather Room

Ok, 101 lesson here: You can test websites right now, today, using a tiny piece of code that will tell you if people like one version of your site better than another. It’s called A/B testing. It’s simple. You probably knew this. If you didn’t, try Optimizely. It’s awesome.

So of course testing is important. But 12 months ago, I never would have believed what we can test inside of real space now.

Remember, software is eating the world. Sensors, electronics, and micro-controllers are getting smaller and smaller, which is why we can fit them inside objects in the first place.

And the most important thing all these sensors are interacting with now is your mobile phone.

Logging Points of Interest

Here’s how it works:

When you unlock the door and enter a Breather room, each sensor in the space says Hey! There’s someone here! and proceeds to watch your main points of interest.

Do you like to sit in a chair, or the couch? Are you getting work done at the desk? Are you lying down to take a nap? All this stuff and more is (anonymously) logged using RFID and Bluetooth.

What does this end up looking like? Well, it looks a little like a heatmap for space.

Why do we do this stuff? The same reason that Google provides you personalized search results: to give you the experience you want. Fundamentally, so you will use Breather more.

So after receiving thousands of customers, we’ll know– which books are being looked at, which way is the couch being used, what your favourite chair is, and more.

And as any growth hacker can tell you, data can help us give you a better experience, come back more often, and spend more time in our spaces.

Breather App

The Future of Space Optimization

Decorating is an art right now. Thousands of years old. Fung shui, Philippe Starck, lots of other stuff is super vague and flowery.

So what “works” in design is really up to interpretation. In fact, physical design is a lot like advertising was in the Mad Men days— before testing, 50% of your ad spend was wasted, you just didn’t know which half.

But those days are slowly coming to an end. Sure, there’ll still be room for “creative,” but slowly, choices in decoration (especially in commercial space) are going to be replaced by rigorous testing, the same stuff we see in Lean Startup land. In retail, this already happens— we know that loud music inside clothing stores encourages people to buy more, for instance.

But our interaction with the customer has to be more subtle than that. Since there is no one in a Breather but you, we were forced to do it this way. But soon, because of our optimization process, other offices will be. After that, hotels. Then, who knows.

The point is this: cutting edge stuff is where all the profit happens. All the advantage, all the real benefit, happens while you are experimenting.

And where experimentation happens right now is with the Internet of Things.

And Breather isn’t alone in doing this. Large corporations like Deloitte have begun using the same technology, as have startups that use targeting for purposes like finding parking and sports video capture.

Trying new stuff is critical. You have to find it, and test it, soon. Because you need every edge you can get.

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The Hard Truth About the Viral Potential of Facebook Sweepstakes https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/the-hard-truth-about-the-viral-potential-of-facebook-sweepstakes/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-measurement/the-hard-truth-about-the-viral-potential-of-facebook-sweepstakes/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 10:00:00 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=13230 Facebook’s early days were incredible. Companies like Zynga, who were able to take early advantage of the social network’s viral potential, grew into multi-million dollar entities over a period of weeks. We were all new; brands and common users alike saw shares and invites as the path to virality, and for a time, it seemed […]

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facebook-megaphone-600badge-guest-post-FLATTERFacebook’s early days were incredible. Companies like Zynga, who were able to take early advantage of the social network’s viral potential, grew into multi-million dollar entities over a period of weeks. We were all new; brands and common users alike saw shares and invites as the path to virality, and for a time, it seemed to work. Week after week, the number of active daily users continued to skyrocket, and Facebook quickly became the destination of choice for businesses seeking wider audiences.

That time is over. The market place is crowded with brands pushing their campaigns toward users who have become more selective about what they will share and what they will invite their friends to.

Brands Want Virality

“How can I make sure my Facebook app goes viral?” is the request we probably get the most. Brands love Facebook sweepstakes campaigns because their participants can invite their friends.

Most app vendors still depend on the “share” and “invite your friends” options, relying on the campaign’s participants to spread the word, and brands hope that virality will increase their fan recruitment while decreasing their advertising costs.

But is this working?

Are Sweepstakes Users Sharing Your App on Facebook? Is it Effective?

The “share” option has been offered by Facebook since its inception, and for a time it was damn effective.

But as Facebook became more and more crowded, Edgerank, the algorithm which decides what content gets shared to whom, allowed fewer shares of campaign participation actions to make their way through users’ Newsfeeds.

Even worse, as users became more educated about Facebook, they became more selective about what they shared with their friends. Campaign invites began to plummet. And so did their reception.

Share percentage on sweepstakes and photo contest

These metrics extracted from hundreds of Facebook sweepstakes campaigns run during the month of July on the Agorapulse platform shows the plummet of Facebook campaign shares’ performance.

Caught in a downward spiral, campaign shares lost visibility and popularity as they found themselves fighting for attention. With so much content being shared on the Newsfeed, users became more selective and began to click less on these types of stories. If you had a 15-minute break and the choice between clicking on a picture of your best friend’s latest vacation photo or his participation in a sweepstakes, which one would you click?

2-sweepstakes-share

Based on the same metrics, 88% of campaign participants never click on the share button.

Based on the data we collected from hundreds of Facebook sweepstakes applications in June, the average entry is shared by 11.8% of the participants in a sweepstakes. That means that 88% of participants never click on the share button.

Among these 11.8% of participants’ shares, the concerned sweepstakes apps only received 1,094 clicks back (referrals).

So, among 108,800 participants across hundreds of Facebook sweepstakes, only 12,885 clicked on the “share” button, and those clicks only referred 1,094 “viral” new participants.

Still thinking a share button on your app is the key to virality? The landscape has changed.

Are Users Really Inviting Their Friends to Your Facebook Sweepstakes?

Right behind the share button, the “invite your friends” option was also one of the first viral features deployed by Facebook in its early days. Facebook’s offered ability to let campaign participants invite their friends still seems like the ultimate viral feature, but the reality looks quite different…

First, the invite button isn’t what it used to be. Originally, Facebook allowed users to invite all their friends in one click (we’re talking back 2010!), this generated so much spam that Facebook now requires each invitation to be sent one by one. How many Facebook friends do you have? How willing would you be to click on all 300 of their names?

Then, tired of receiving a bazillion invitations to “world of zombies!!” or “crush the candies!!” type of social games from friends, it didn’t take long before users began responding less to their buddies’ generic non-organic invitations.

3 - Sweepstakes friends request july

Facebook users don’t accept invites like they used to. Less than 0.23% of all invitations sent from a sweepstakes were accepted during that 30 day period. Staggering!

Based on the same data we used to measure the effectiveness of the share feature, among 108,800 sweepstakes participants, 71,400 invitations were sent, one participant generating 0.65 invitations. Looks promising!

But, then it gets ugly… Only 0.23% of these invitations were accepted, bringing in 165 new participants. Yes, you read that right, 71,400 invitations led to 165 participants, meaning 71,235 people who were invited refused or ignored the invitation

Are you still counting on the “invite your friends” feature to help your Facebook sweepstakes go viral?

“Share & Invite” Promotions are Not Effective Anymore. What Should You Do?

1) Reward friend participations, but don’t limit rewards to “shares” or “invites”

It’s always a good idea to reward participants who bring their friends to your sweepstakes. Some vendors offer features that track who has invited who, and they use that information to reward participants who rack up more participations. But, as the Facebook campaign “share” and “invite” features are not so effective anymore, you shouldn’t use an app that relies only on these mechanisms.

Let your participants use any channel they want (Twitter, Email, etc.) and keep track of the number of participating friends each participant has in the game. After all, what really matters is that a user was able to attract friends, not the channel he or she used to do so.

In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to seek a vendor that requires the installation of a Facebook app. This is the only way to know who is friends with whom and track accordingly.

2) Consider utilizing the Open Graph

Shares and invites don’t perform so well anymore. The recently released “frictionless sharing” based on Facebook Open Graph is much more effective.

The Open Graph Frictionless Sharing feature is automatic. Frictionless sharing will not require your participants to click on a button in order to share their participation in your sweepstakes. Instead, once they have installed your Facebook app and have accepted the automatic “share” dialog, their participation will be shared automatically on their timeline as well as their friends’ Newsfeeds, and tickers. Edgerank will still determine what gets by whom, and the stories published by your app will not make it through your participants’ Newsfeed 100% of the time, but it will get there much more often.

4 - Sweepstakes open graph action july

Open Graph frictionless sharing produces dramatic results compared to shares and invites.

In the example above, during the same period of time as the one used to gather “shares” and “invites”, sweepstakes apps generated 76,763 “automatic shares” (instead of 12,885 with the manual option) and received 895,156 impressions (instead of 211,984) that led to 7,575 clicks (instead of 1,094).

In a nutshell, OpenGraph frictionless sharing generates between 7 and 8 times more referrals than the traditional “share” feature.

So the next time you choose an app to run a sweepstakes, make sure it offers Open Graph frictionless sharing options.

It’s Time for a New Solution

Facebook is no longer the viral Eldorado for Sweepstakes apps. With 12% of participants sharing their participation and less than 10% of these shares leading to a click, sole reliance on the manual sharing options offered by Facebook is not the way to go. Even worse, only 0.23% of invitations are accepted by friends of participants. This will not impact your app’s virality.

However, if you can reward your fans for getting their friends in and leverage OpenGraph frictionless sharing, you can still expect some virality from Facebook. Eldorado is gone, but done well, a Facebook sweepstakes is still going to generate many more referrals than any other traditional sweeps on the web.

Your turn. What’s your experience with Facebook sweepstakes? Any feedback on the viral effect your were able to get (or not get)?

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