One the basic ideas in marketing is that the consumer of whatever you are providing decides whether an offering is useful. You shouldn’t just shout at your customers and tell them that they should appreciate what they are being given. I think a lot of marketers forget this basic idea when it comes to marketing metrics. Social media analytics are critical but you need to understand metrics used in the rest of the business.
Sharing Links To Social Media Analytics Tools Is Helpful
I had a mixed view of Gohan Khan’s, Social Media Analytics. It has a wealth of great links to where you could find more information and tools. In that way it was a highly useful book. Just for the highlighting of useful tools alone the book is worth a look. Khan clearly has considerable knowledge of social media analytics.
The Sloppy Marketer Playbook
That said the main text contained lots of confusing problems. Formulas that I couldn’t make out, casual use of the idea of competitive advantage, and other classics from the sloppy marketer playbook that really irritate me.
The cherry on the cake of the sloppy marketer playbook (I know I’ve gone too far with my description) is the idea that Khan shows Social Media ROI. Firstly, the definition he gives of ROI that is plain wrong. “In pure business terms, return on investment (ROI) are the gains from an investment less the cost of an investment” (Khan, 2018). Unfortunately this doesn’t work. You can’t just subtract costs from the gains, you need to compare the size of the gains to the size of the costs. (Here is my post explaining ROI in more detail)
Khan’s looseness shows a lack of appreciation for what ROI is used for. ROI is used to compare investments but the return less the costs does not work for this as the investments may be of different sizes. Gaining $10 on a $1 investment is fantastic. On a $1 million investment a gain of $10 is a disaster.
Think Of The Metric User
Khan even seems to suggest that a picture can show social media ROI. Think of how unhelpful this is for a CFO. Imagine you are a CFO and you get a project proposal from ops that expects a 10% return. You need to compare this to a project from administration with a 12% return. For marketing’s input to the budgetary process your CMO sends along a pretty picture. It simply just doesn’t help the CFO in any way. Metrics should help the user of the metric, otherwise what are they for?
Maybe I’m Not Typical But Sharing Sports Scores Is Evil
On a side note Khan tells the story of ESPN FC who paid to announce the results of world cup matches on the London Underground. I can’t think of anything that would annoy me more. (I often watch time-delayed matches). That said, I’ll just about accept the strategy worked. To avoid just relying on our intuitions — like mine of ‘don’t share world cup scores’ — is why we collect data I guess. Still a plea to all marketers — especially my friend Mansur Khamitov — don’t share scores, it is plain evil.
Read: Gohan F. Khan (2018) Creating Value With Social Media Analytics: Managing, Aligning, and Mining Social Media Text, Networks, Actions, Location, Aps, Hyperlinks, Multimedia, & Search Engines Data Social Media Analytics, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform