Category Archives: social media metrics

Social Media Strategy Prerequisites


I created this presentation in advance of teaching social media marketing strategy because I felt it important to emphasize to students that you don’t just jump into a social media strategy. There are a number of things you must consider first.  Specifically, marketers must set goals and objectives that they would like to achieve so that the strategy is focused and effective.  Second, brands need metrics that they will use to evaluate those goals.  Third, the strategy must be clear on the people who comprise the target market and that can only be discovered after segmenting markets.  Finally, it helps to determine what you want your target to do after you communicate with them.

Social Media Strategy Prerequisite Slides

These slides accompany Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press by Randi Priluck and are a social media teaching resource for faculty.



How to Teach Social Media Marketing Efficiency


Students of social media marketing must have a solid understanding of integrated marketing communications because a social media campaign is typically part of a larger effort to inform, persuade or remind.  Marketers must also provide evidence that a particular strategy in digital media is more efficient in terms of cost.  These days as digital media become more desirable as part of a communications strategy, they also become more expensive.  The new reality requires marketers to examine the bang for the buck they get from digital over other options.  It is possible that television, cable, radio or outdoor can deliver more impressions with stronger response than an organic social media campaign on Facebook that few people actually see.

That is why professors who teach social media should include traditional media measurement as part of the curriculum.  The definitions for traditional media terms such as reach, frequency and impressions are important for students.  Digital terms such as cost per click and conversion rate show how social media are purchased by companies seeking to reach targets.



One important method for equating media is cost per thousand (CPM). CPM (M represents 1,000) tells marketers the cost to obtain 1,000 impressions or views of a particular message.  It is calculated as:


The formula is only part of the picture.  Students must also know how much it costs on a CPM basis to advertise in various forms of media.  For example, compare the traditional media costs to the digital media costs in the two slides below.  A smart marketer would consider traditional as part of a good media mix. As you can see the cable CPM is looking pretty good relative to the internet video CPM.



Students of social media marketing think that social is the answer to everything.  Though social media may be a good strategy, a smart marketer will evaluate all the potential tools in the box to maximize media efficiency.


New Book: Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy

Coming in August 2016: Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press by Dr. Randi Priluck


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The practice of marketing has changed drastically in the past ten years and represents both challenges and opportunities for those who study the field. We are now firmly in the digital marketing era in which firms conduct business online and communicate with customers through a variety of digital and traditional media.

The new book Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategies takes our current knowledge of the field and applies the best ideas to the world of social media and mobile marketing. Effective marketing strategies begin by segmenting and targeting markets, researching the environment, and understanding consumer behavior, and that is why this book focuses heavily on planning the strategy prior to execution.

A social media and mobile communications strategy also requires that one establish a strong digital presence on the Web and through online marketing prior to executing any campaign. Therefore, this book emphasizes planning and executing communications strategies, while keeping a clear focus on measuring the outcomes using clearly established goals and metrics. Finally, because there are legal issues involved in many executions, the final chapter reviews the law as it relates to digital marketing.

Learn social media and mobile strategy for your business or teach the topic to students.

Click here for a link to the site and to order your review copy.   Oxford University Press


Social Media Return on Investment (ROI)

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In my latest client meeting my team presented a social media marketing strategy plan to grow a social following. The goal was to position the brand as a thought  leader in the area of fashion and healthy lifestyles. Great.
Note, that for every additional dollar you spend on creating, managing and monitoring social media platforms you increase the necessary revenue you must generate to make it worthwhile.  By scheduling content to appear on multiple sites you are potentially increasing the revenue side, while not adding to the cost side. That sounds like good business.

How to Teach Social Media Marketing – Part One

students working

You may be wondering how to teach social media marketing given how quickly the landscape changes, people adopt new platforms and the platforms themselves change with the wind.  Recently Jay Baer talked about the difference between potential reach and actual reach of social media. The point is that just because you have followers, doesn’t  mean they see your posts – it only means they could potentially see them.  This is a big problem for marketers and for educators who try to stay on top of teaching this challenging topic. So, how do you impart the necessary knowledge to students given this situation?   Emphasize the following five basics:

  1. Teach Marketing Concepts
    1. The Four P’s
    2. Segmentation and Targeting
    3. Research for Decision Making
  2. Emphasize Objectives
  3. Build on Digital Marketing Prerequisites
  4. Focus on Process
  5. Preach Measurement
  6. Know the Law

Teach Marketing Concept

If you are a marketing professor you likely teach students the notion that it is important to meet consumer needs while reaching organizational objectives.  The basic marketing mix plays a role in every part of social media marketing.  Social media influences product design and development, pricing and distribution and promotion.  Including examples of each of these in a course will set the stage for teaching more social media concepts.


The company used social media to choose the best products to bring to market, and then leveraged the knowledge of the crowd to develop the marketing strategy.  Crowdsourcing can be used by other firms to select the best possible ideas.


Best Buy created its own shelf tags for consumers to use with mobile devices to help limit the need to search for lower prices on mobile phones.


Brands like JewelMint leverage social media to sell more products encouraging customers to share with their friends.


Chipotle and Chobani have each used social media not only to promote their offerings but also to create a personality for their company. Videos, blogs, sponsorships and events have been utilized to tell their corporate story and cultivate positive attitudes toward their brand.

A great idea is to flip the classroom and get the students to find their own examples of brands that use social media as part of their marketing strategies.

Another concept that comes into play in teaching social media marketing is segmentation.

Segmentation is the process of dividing consumers into homogeneous groups based on certain demographic, geographic, psychographic characteristics and usage behavior. Faculty members who teach segmentation can use elements of social media to highlight aspects of the topic.

Social networks collect vast amounts of data on consumers and can provide a rich discussion on the various methods to divide consumers into groups based on the various segmentation methods: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral. By logging onto Facebook a faculty member can show how Facebook provides actual market sizes for the various groups of individuals associated with specific characteristics.

In order to reach and engage people in social media marketers must ensure that the target uses these platforms and wishes to engage with marketers.  Most of the time people are on social media to connect with friends and not products.  Moments that matter and can influence sales are key to receptive audiences.  To bring this to life I ask students to use demographics from Pew Internet Research to define target markets for the major social sites.  You can find great data using the following link:

Target Markets for Social Media Sites

Finally, research is an important component of a strong social media strategy. Stay tuned for more information on how to cover this topic and more.




Content Strategy from SiteVisibility

SEO circle

Content marketing can be great for building your brand expertise in a variety of fields. Typically content is aimed at customers who can benefit from interacting with particular types of information. Another very important goal for content is to increase Google search engine rankings.

SiteVisibility is a UK SEO firm that really understands how to develop content to achieve key goals. One way to boost rankings is to encourage bloggers to link to your content. Kelvin Newman clearly explains his THEME model to make the most of content.  It starts with Tribes- those people who manage websites or blogs and have the motivation to link to your site because they want to publish interesting material. By engaging those bloggers and researching their interests you create posts that are so compelling they want to share. For example, Kelvin recommends interviewing bloggers and publishing what they say. Having relationships with influencers also makes them more likely to link to you.

Another key element to content creation is spending on paid media. These days if you invest in content, it pays to amplify it. Brands also must think of the goals and metrics in advance of content creation. What do you want that content to achieve and what measures will show success? Simply brilliant.

Here is a link to SiteVisibility.

It’s a great podcast.

(not) Measuring Snapchat


This Friday I will be teaching metrics to my students.  We will talk about how to set goals, determine strategies, tag all efforts and evaluate the metrics.  There are many tools that provide metrics for the major social sites and you can track your posts on Google Analytics through Google’s URL builder to see how the content performs and leads to conversions.

However, what to do about Snapchat?  Brands can’t tag content to show up and even if they could, people could register a brand identification or message, but not link through to the site.

Right now the only metrics available to brands using Snapchat are those on the site, such as total views and screenshots taken.

Social Media Examiner provides some good advice for planning your Snapchat campaign so it can be more track-able.

  1. you can ask followers to take screenshots of snaps – a measurable metric.
  2. you can offer a discount code to those who take a screenshot and track those who redeem it.
  3. Give Snapchat users a unique landing page and track it with Google Analytics.

Of course I would expect Google to come up with a solution for tracking these campaigns.  In the meantime, it’s always good practice to make sure your strategy is working and whether the same goal could be achieved elsewhere more efficiently.

Ask yourself: Is Snapchat the best use of my marketing energy? Where can I get the most bang for my buck (and time) with my target audience?




Why I am Google Analytics Certified

GA certification

This summer I decided to become Google Analytics certified.  Today I passed the exam!  I have to say it was a lot of work with significant studying involved.  I watched all the videos and took copious notes, which came in handy during the test.  There are 70 questions on the test to be done in 90 minutes. I actually had time to spare and could have looked up more of the answers to be more precise.  The practice tests helped a lot.

Why I am Google Analytics Certified

There are a number of reasons:

1. It is important to understand what drives a social strategy and what actions customers or website visitors take as a result of interacting with social media.  If social does not deliver your desired goals, how much time do you want to spend on it?

2. I am planning to ask my students to become GA certified as part of my course Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategies in the MediaStorm Masters Program at Pace University.  As a result I felt it important to become certified myself.  The good news here is that you can become certified and create a dummy account for practice. You do not have to be associated with a business or have a populated Google Analytics account.

3. As a consultant on digital marketing I have to be able to explain to clients why they should execute certain strategies and solid data make it clear what drives response.

4. I just plain feel good that I am deemed competent in something by Google.  Yes, I have advanced degrees, but practical knowledge is very important if you teach digital marketing.

Go ahead and congratulate me. I have not had to study for a test in years!

Companies Spend on Social, but Can’t Track Results

I am currently spending a lot of time with the CMO survey – a survey conducted annually by Christine Moorman at Duke University for McKinsey.  Though the response rate is relatively low (8%), the data show some interesting trends in digital marketing and social media.  I particularly like the data on marketing spending and marketing measurement. I am using some of this content in my forthcoming book Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy.

One key piece of research is that companies are increasing social media spending, which is verified by other sources. However, companies are having trouble measuring the impact of those strategies.

Here is the latest data from the CMO Survey on social media spend:

Social media spending is currently 9.4% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (see Figure 1). However, the 351 marketing leaders responding to August 2014 survey overwhelmingly report that proof lags spending and only 15% of marketers report their companies can show the impact of social media using quantitative approaches.

What’s the buzz? Companies experienced a 25% percent increase in sales through the Internet in the last year—from 8.9% to 11.3% of sales. There does appear to be a sizable opportunity in reaching customers through the Internet that underlies this spending push. Consistent with this view, digital marketing, more broadly, is expected to increase 10.8% in the next year, while traditional advertising budgets are predicted to decrease 3.6%. In other words, there is a signal in all this buzz.

Figure 1. Social media spending as a percent of marketing budget


The CMO Survey can be found here: CMO SURVEY

Social media vs. traditional metrics

There is a lot of concern among marketers as to how to measure the results of a campaign and equate the returns from social media to those of traditional executions. Most importantly brands should consider the return on investment for a strategy, also known as ROI. This metric can only be measured with a form of currency, such as dollars and requires that a brand determine the costs associated with a strategy and the profits from the execution, both in dollars.

Marketers are wary of using ROI to determine the success of social media because of the difficulty in quantifying both returns and costs. They tend to rely on intermediate metrics, such as ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ because they can easily tie those individuals to a particular platform. Since social media has high human resource costs marketers need more tools at their disposal for measurement and analysis.

One option is to compare the cost of a social media strategy to the cost of strategies in other forms of media. Comparing media costs is sometimes called media equivalency or media equivalents. This analysis has a bad reputation because PR firms have used it to multiply the influence of their campaigns. However, the tool can be really useful for social media.

To do a media equivalency analysis the marketer has to make one big assumption. That an impression is an impression regardless of the medium. If a person sees a posting on Facebook it is equivalent to viewing a television ad. This is obviously not completely true, because each medium has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, while television has beautiful graphics, Facebook has the opportunity for engagement. Though the effects may be different audiences see these forms of media with a brand identification. In fact, most forms of media deliver some kind of brand-related impression (unless the message is subliminal) and this concept can be used to equate media to determine their comparative impact.

The analysis requires that the marketer determine reach and costs for each medium on a cost per thousand basis. By using cost per thousand (CPM) the marketer can equate costs and determine which strategy is more expensive relative to how many people viewed the message.

Is this method perfect? No, but it is useful for understanding your marketing spend.

“Is return on investment THE metric I should use to evaluate my marketing strategy?”