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How to Use Social Media Metrics with Other Online Marketing

Regardless of other online techniques you use as a social media marketer, you can combine links with source tags, analytics program results, and advertising metrics to compare social media results to results from other online techniques.

Refine your list of KPIs for these elements:

  • E-mail newsletters: Whether you use your own mailing list or rent one, you measure

    • Bounces: Bad e-mail addresses

    • Open rate: The percentage of good addressees that open your newsletter, roughly equivalent to reach as a percentage of impressions

    • Click-through rate, or CTR: The percentage of people who click through to a web page after opening a newsletter

    • Landing pages: Where newsletter recipients “went”

    Well-segmented, targeted lists result in better reach. If you rent lists, be sure to include the acquisition cost per thousand names, as well as the transmission cost, in your total cost for CPM comparison. Most newsletter services and list-rental houses provide all these metrics.

  • Coupons, promotion codes: Online coupons can be tracked similarly to regular banner ads. However, for both promotion codes and coupons, track which offers produce the best results, which are almost always sales or registrations.

  • Press releases: Sometimes press releases are hard to track online because many free press distribution services don’t provide information on page views or click-throughs. By contrast, most paid distribution services tell you the click-through rate and the number of impressions (or number of times someone viewed your release) on their servers.

    Though these services can tell you where the release was distributed, they don’t know what happened afterward. A press release is a good place to include an identifier in the links. The tag enables you to track entry pages. You may also see a spike in daily or hourly traffic to your site shortly after the distribution time.

  • Product placement in games and other programs: Advertisers can now place the equivalent of banner ads or product images within online video games. If the ads are linkable, you can find the CTR and impressions to calculate CPM and CPC. Offline games with product placement must be treated as offline marketing elements.

  • Online events: Track live concerts, chats, speeches, and webinars with KPIs for registration — request an e-mail address, at minimum — even if the event is free. Though not everyone who registers attends, this approach also provides a helpful set of leads and a built-in audience to notify of future events. Of course, you can also check referrers and entry pages.

  • Disaggregated components, such as third-party blogs, chat rooms, RSS feeds, regular e-mail, or instant messaging: Tagged links that pass through from these forms of communication probably comprise your best bet.

You can incorporate a special tag for links forwarded by others, though you might not be able to tell how they completed the forwarding (for example, from a Share This feature versus e-mail) unless you have implemented Social Media Plug-ins). It all depends on what you’re trying to measure.

Be sure to register for optional analytics when you install a Share function from sites such as AddThis or ShareThis, which integrate with Google Analytics. Then you can see where and how often users forward your link through these services.

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